Monday, May 6, 2019

Some comments on the open letter


What should we think of the recent open letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy, signed by Fr. Aidan Nichols, Prof. John Rist, and other priests and academics (and for which Prof. Josef Seifert has now expressed his support)?  Like others who have commented on it, I think the letter overstates things in its main charge and makes some bad arguments, but that it also makes many correct and important points that cannot reasonably be dismissed merely because the letter is seriously deficient in other respects. 

As to the main charge, it is true that a pope can fall into doctrinal error, even material heresy, when not speaking ex cathedra.  However, whether and how a pope can be charged with formal heresy, and what the consequences would be if he were guilty of it, are simply much less clear-cut canonically and theologically than the letter implies.  Some of the Church’s greatest theologians have speculated about the matter, and while there are serious arguments for various possible positions, there is no theological consensus and no magisterial teaching which resolves the issue.  Moreover, a pope falling into formal heresy would be about as grave a crisis for the Church as can be imagined.  So, maximum caution is called for before making such a charge, and in my opinion it is simply rash flatly to accuse the pope of “the canonical delict of heresy,” as the letter does.

Some of the arguments deployed are also ill-advised, to say the least.  For example, it was foolish to appeal to the allegedly sinister shape of the staff that the pope used in a particular mass as evidence of heretical intent.  To be sure, the open letter does not make much of this, but it is a bad argument, and the letter’s critics have understandably pounced on it.

I would guess that these serious problems with the letter are one reason that it did not gather more signatures, though it is certainly significant that it attracted signatories as formidable as Nichols and Rist.  (This is not meant in any way as a slight against the other signatories, some of whom are also formidable scholars.  But most of them have signed several other public statements critical of Pope Francis, so the fact that they signed this one is less noteworthy than the fact that Nichols and Rist signed it.) 

Another reason, I suspect, is that by now it seems that there is little point to further public letters and petitions critical of Pope Francis, when several others have already been issued and simply ignored by the pope, the cardinals, and the bishops.  (I signed one of them myself.)  I realize that the signatories to this latest open letter do not suppose they are likely to move the bishops to action, but merely want to get into the historical record a summary of the problems with some of Pope Francis’s words and actions and the fact that there were faithful Catholic scholars who criticized them.  But there is a point to doing even that much only if the letter adds something new and significant to the previous letters and petitions, and the main thing this one adds is a charge that is, as I say, rashly made. 

Having said all that, it simply will not do for critics of the letter to point to its deficiencies and then roll over and go back to sleep.  The letter, however problematic, is a response to statements and actions of the pope that are also seriously problematic.  And if its rashness reflects a kind of exasperation on the part of the signatories, it cannot reasonably be denied that the pope can indeed be exasperating. 

For example, Pope Francis has made many statements that at least seem to contradict traditional Catholic teaching on divorce and remarriage, conscience, grace, the diversity of religions, contraception, capital punishment, and a variety of other topics.  The open letter is right about that.  Indeed, at least where the number of problematic statements from Pope Francis is concerned, the open letter actually understates the case, because it does not address the pope’s remarks about contraception, capital punishment, or certain other issues.  The sheer volume of these problematic statements is alarming in itself, whatever one thinks of any one of them considered in isolation.  You can find previous popes who have made a theologically problematic statement here or there.  You cannot find a previous pope who has made so many theologically problematic statements. 

It is true that the pope’s defenders have come up with ways to read some of these statements so as to reconcile them with traditional doctrine.  But there are two general problems with such attempts, even apart from the fact that not all of the proposed readings are terribly plausible.

First, and as I have pointed out before, when defending the doctrinal soundness of a statement, it does not suffice to come up with some strained or unnatural interpretation that avoids strict heresy.  That is a much lower standard than the Church herself has applied historically, and would rule out very little. 

To take an example I have used in the past, even the statement “God does not exist” could be given an orthodox interpretation if you strain hard enough.  You could say: “What I mean when I say that is that God does not ‘exist’ in the sense of merely having or participating in existence, the way other things do.  Rather, he just is Subsistent Being Itself and the source of the existence of other things.”  The trouble is that the average person would not understand such a high falutin’ interpretation even if it occurred to him.  The average person would naturally hear the statement in question as an expression of atheism.  He would be especially likely to do so if the statement was addressed to a mass audience rather than to an audience of academics, and if the person who made the statement did not himself clarify things by explicitly giving a non-atheistic interpretation. 

A theological statement – especially when made by a churchman to a mass audience – should be clearly orthodox on a natural reading, not merely arguably orthodox on some creative reading.  This is why the Church has traditionally held that being strictly heretical is only one of several ways that a statement can be doctrinally objectionable.  Even a statement that is not explicitly heretical might still be erroneous, or proximate to heresy, or rash, or ambiguous, or “offensive to pious ears,” or subject to one of the other theological censures with which the Church has in the past condemned various theological opinions. 

Where the question of problematic papal statements is concerned, we might consider the cases of Pope Honorius I and Pope John XXII, who are frequently cited as the two clearest examples of popes who arguably were guilty of heresy.  Their defenders have argued that the precise wording of the statements that got them into trouble could be construed as strictly heretical only in light of later dogmatic definitions, rather than in light of definitions already on the books in their day.  Even if that is the case, however, the fact remains that John XXII, who had denied that the blessed in heaven immediately enjoy the beatific vision after death, recanted this error in the face of vigorous criticism from the theologians of his day.  The fact remains that Honorius was condemned by two later popes for his statements, which at least gave aid and comfort to the Monothelite heresy.  Pope St. Leo II declared:

We anathematize… Honorius, who did not attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted.

and:

Honorius… did not, as became the Apostolic authority, extinguish the flame of heretical teaching in its first beginning, but fostered it by his negligence.

So, whether or not Honorius and John XXII were guilty of strict heresy, they were undeniably guilty of making statements that fell under one or more of the lesser theological censures cited above.  Similarly, even if Pope Francis’s problematic statements can be given readings that avoid strict heresy, it doesn’t follow that they can avoid falling under one or more of the lesser theological censures.

The second problem with the proposed explanations of Pope Francis’s remarks is that it is the pope himself, and not his defenders, who should be providing them, and he has persistently refused to do so.  The open letter is right to complain about this.  For one thing, upholding traditional teaching and resolving doctrinal disputes is the main job of a pope.  Hence, that he has still not responded to the now famous dubia (to take just one example) is indefensible.  He has in this regard clearly failed to do his duty, and it is intellectually dishonest for his defenders to pretend otherwise.  Had the pope simply reaffirmed traditional teaching in response to these straightforward and respectfully presented questions from several of his cardinals, the main doctrinal controversy that has roiled his pontificate would have been swiftly resolved. 

For another thing, what a person fails to say, and how he acts, can “send a message” no less than what he does explicitly say.  The open letter is also right to emphasize that.  Suppose, to return to my example, that I not only publicly stated “God does not exist,” but also refused to say one way or the other whether I myself endorsed the non-atheistic interpretation of this utterance proposed by some of my defenders on my behalf.  Suppose also that I frequently praised atheist thinkers like Nietzsche, Marx, Sartre, et al. and frequently criticized theistic religions and thinkers.  But suppose too that, for all that, I still denied that I was an atheist.  People would naturally be confused, and many would suspect that I was simply engaging in double-talk – that I really was an atheist but didn’t want to be entirely frank about it.

Similarly, when the pope not only makes theologically ambiguous statements about divorce and remarriage, conscience, etc. but refuses to clarify those statements, and promotes and praises people with a reputation for departing from traditional teaching in these areas while criticizing and sidelining people with a reputation for upholding traditional teaching, it is hardly surprising if many people worry – whether correctly or not – that he does not agree with traditional teaching but doesn’t want to say so directly. 

Suppose that the open letter had alleged, not that the pope is guilty of the canonical delict of heresy, but rather that the pope’s words and actions have, even if inadvertently, encouraged doctrinal error, or perhaps that the pope has been negligent in his duty to uphold sound doctrine.  It would be much harder to defend the pope against these milder charges, as the evidence adduced in the open letter clearly shows.  These milder charges also would not raise the question of the loss of the papal office, with all of its unresolved canonical and theological difficulties and horrific practical implications.  And it would also (unlike the prospect of a formally heretical pope) have clear precedents in the cases of Honorius and John XXII.

The Church famously teaches that the salvation of souls is the supreme law.  She does not teach that defending the pope at all costs is the supreme law.  Some of the pope’s defenders seem not to know the difference.  But as the precedents of St. Paul’s rebuke of St. Peter, the condemnation of Pope Honorius, and the 14th century theologians’ criticism of Pope John XXII all show – and as the Church herself has always acknowledged – it can happen, albeit very rarely, that what the salvation of souls requires is precisely the correction rather than defense of a pope.  The open letter is right about that too.  However, such correction must be carried out with filial reverence, and with extreme caution. 

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132 comments:

  1. Ed,

    One of the features of the modern mind is its apparently infinite capacity for fearing things that may happen (Y2K, global warming, Iraq nuking New York...) so much more than horrors that are actually, today, being experienced.

    In relation to the crisis in the Church, which is hands-down worse than anything she has ever before endured, an absolutely catastrophic collapse of faith, with innumerable effects on the rest of society as well, apparently we must accept that the real issue is what might happen if somebody rashly accuses the leaders of this revolution of "heresy"?

    "These milder charges also would not raise the question of the loss of the papal office, with all of its unresolved canonical and theological difficulties and horrific practical implications."

    Horrific practical implications are what we have, in spades, Ed. But not from rash accusations of heresy; quite the contrary, as you must know. The problem is actually that heresy is not condemned. There are not enough accusations of heresy.

    Regards,
    John.

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    1. Horrific practical implications are what we have, in spades, Ed. But not from rash accusations of heresy

      Not necessarily. Given Francis's demonstrated penchant for taking direct action against a bishop whom he doesn't like, one can well imagine many bishop's deciding that they are unwilling to even touch this open letter and its call for bishops to weigh in. However, if (as Ed suggests) the letter had presented a more restrained accusation, one that is more likely to be affirmed on the basis of the evidence presented, possibly some bishops would be willing to enter the fray.

      As it is, I have a hard time believing that there will be found more than 20 bishops who will take the letter seriously enough to act on it. With something like 2200 dioceses in the world, that's not even a pittance, and the vast silence of the vast majority of them will serve more to indicate the letter's deficiencies than its validity.

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    2. Aquinian,

      You are understandably angry, but anger must be guided by reason. Think about it. Don't just emote, but think. Suppose twenty or thirty bishops did in fact get together and formally corrected the pope a couple of times, and he ignored them. Suppose they then decided that he was, as a consequence, guilty of obstinacy and judged him a formal heretic. Now what happens?

      Does that entail that he really is a formal heretic? What if the rest of the bishops, including even those who don't like what the pope has been doing, don't agree that he is a formal heretic? Who decides which group of bishops is right? And does Francis cease being pope under these circumstances? If not, why not? If so, then how is he supposed to be removed if most of the bishops still regard him as pope? Are they now in schism, since they are in communion with a (purportedly) false pope? Are all the priests who remain in communion with him now in schism too? Can they administer the sacraments in that case? If Francis stays in office and appoints more cardinals, how could the next conclave he valid? And if it isn't, how do we ever get a new pope?

      This is just the beginning of sorrows, and it shows just how radical, potentially, are the implications of judging a pope not merely materially heretical, but formally heretical. It is these extremely serious issues, to which there is no agreed upon theological and canonical solution -- rather than timidity, as you seem to imagine -- that give pause even to those critical of the pope's words and actions. An accusation of formal heresy is extremely serious in its implications, more so than you seem to realize.

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    3. Dr Feser,

      I really think that theologians have given this enough thought (hundreds of years) to reasonably conclude that there is no way to judge a reigning Pope, even as a post de facto recognition that he has deposed himself. There were, of course, many who taught that this was possible, but let's face it, if they existed in the 14th/15th century during the feud between 2-3 claimants to Papacy (this had already happened a number of times), they would have been just as dumbfounded as anyone was during that time.

      There are, however, two events in the history of the Church which I think has not caught enough attention from theologians and philosophers. So much time is given to Honorius, John XXII, Liberius, Nicholas, and Vatican I, and almost no attention is paid to the controversy between the Council of Constantinople (553) and Vigilius, and the resolutions reached at the Council of Constance (in particular, its Haec Sancta decree). What I see are theologians passing this off as if it were immaterial. However, in the former, 6th century Catholicism thought they could take action against a renegade Pope. I mean both Eastern and Western chuches removed Vigilius' name from the diptycha of divine services (albeit, for opposite reasons). Secondly, the Council of Constance found itself at an impasse with the idea that the Pope is legally untouchable, and were forced to draw up Haec Sancta, which puts Pope and bishops under the immediate authority of Bishops.

      I realize that there might be some painful admissions forthcoming from this, but we aren't exactly making progress by hiding from reality.

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    4. Pope Francis has said some troubling things, but saying these times are "... hands-down worse than anything she has ever before endured..." is crazy-talk. I'll take erroneous comments over every other point in the history of the people of God, except maybe the reign of Solomon.

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    5. Didymus,
      I hope you're right, but I don't know of anything I would say is worse. I would appreciate some examples of worse cases, and I believe others would be happy to know what yo have in mind, too.

      Peace in Christ,
      Parádoxo

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    6. @Tony:

      "As it is, I have a hard time believing that there will be found more than 20 bishops who will take the letter seriously enough to act on it."

      What if the authors had taken all the precautions Prof. Feser speaks about, crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's, what would be the amount of bishops that would take it seriously?

      By the way, and a propos of nothing, am going to receive the sacrament of Confirmation next Sunday, so pray for me.

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    7. You've got it, G. Many good wishes with the prayers.

      I would guess that "many" more bishops would take it seriously if it were all careful and spiffy-clean. Maybe 5 times as many. Maybe even 10 times as many. Yes, a pittance. But 20 isn't even a pittance.

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    8. Paradoxo,

      Just open Scripture or a history of the Church, man!

      Do Pope Francis' loose lips compare to Pharaoh's chariots bearing down on us as we crossed the Red Sea? Is Pope Francis' silly stick as bad as Sennacherib's army? Are his erroneous opinions about capital punishment as bad as being fed to lions for entertainment? Is there anything today or yesterday or tomorrow that compares to the People of God crucifying Him and denying Him? I am,

      Didymus

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    9. Didymus,

      Are you a Catholic? Are you aware of the entirely new creation, unlike anything that existed before, that is the "ecclesia" or "gathering in" of disparate peoples, on the sole basis of supernatural faith? No common race, culture, language, or even history unites these people, only faith does. Are you not aware of the radical and immense chasm that distinguishes this new thing, the Church, from the race-based "people of God" (uggh! V2 Speak!) of the old dispensation? Are you cognisant of an event called Pentecost? Do you really not know that the Church is a visible unity of those who profess the same, true, faith? If you were, you would not compare this crisis with anything but the Arian Crisis, or the Protestant Revolt, and you certainly wouldn't bring in any Old Testament examples, which are of an entirely different nature, given that none of them involved supposed members of a supernatural organism, built exclusively upon the profession of faith, denying, undermining, and ridiculing that faith, and persecuting with exquisite bureaucratic refinement any who dare to defend that same faith!

      You would also, were you aware of these basic truths of our religion, be in a position to understand the standard doctrine of the Catholic schools, and confirmed by Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi, to the effect that a man who outwardly denies the faith ceases, ipso facto, to be a member of the Church, with all of the consequences that flow from that loss of membership.

      And understanding that, you might in turn be in a position to wonder at the very strange sight that confronts us, of a Church which has apparently lost her external unity of faith, an ecclesiological problem of the first water. Naturalists can't see that problem, because they don't know what the Church is to begin with, of course.

      Regards,
      John.

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    10. I really have no idea what you mean by "naturalist". And I wonder if God shares your patronizing, dismissive attitude of the wonders He worked amongst the Hebrews, His people - or so He Said - and our fathers in faith, not modern Judaism's, before He Incarnated as one of them. But regardless, I listed plenty of times since Pentecost, your Alpha and Omega, that put lie to the claim that Pope Francis is "... hands-down worse than anything she has ever before endured..." You repeated two yourself. I listed another five or six.

      And I am a Catholic? I don't know. What do you think, Pope John? I'm probably a crypto-Jew using the Greek name of a Christian Apostle.

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    11. Are you not aware of the radical and immense chasm that distinguishes this new thing, the Church, from the race-based "people of God" (uggh! V2 Speak!) of the old dispensation? Are you cognisant of an event called Pentecost? Do you really not know that the Church is a visible unity of those who profess the same, true, faith?

      If one is saved, he is saved by grace, which gives him the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and charity. This saving grace is present in the Church and is given to us through the Church, at Christ's providential order. There is one Church for all of the saved.

      Abraham, who was accounted as saved by St. Paul, was a member of that one Body of Christ through grace and in his faith in the Christ to come. Abraham had the same unitary faith that St. Paul and St. James did, and that we do. Many of the descendants of Abraham also had that same faith, especially (but not limited to) the other patriarchs and the prophets. The faith that Abraham had was the only, one true faith of the Abrahamic dispensation, and it was similarly the very same faith of those faithful Israelites who were true to the Law and the Prophets and the Psalmists who revealed God's word to them, (even though incompletely). All those among the Hebrews who were true to the entirety of the religion revealed through Abraham and Moses and the prophets had faith and were members of the Body of Christ by their grace and their anticipatory faith in the redemption of Christ. Those Jews who thought they would be saved either by being descended from Abraham, or by the Law alone, were not abiding in the faith that Abraham had, and thus were not truly of the Abrahamic religion, (which is the one true religion).

      Interestingly, Bossuet used the phrase "People of God" in the 1600's: “Religion, and the continued existence of the people of God throughout the centuries, is the greatest and most useful of all objects that can be proposed to man”.

      It is not to be laid at the door of either Abraham or Moses that many Jews fell away from the religion they taught. The Church was founded by Christ, but He used Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets to prepare the soil for that founding, and those patriarchs belong to His Body and are saved therein.

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  2. The problem with all these "open letters" is that they mostly come from people who espouse the Americanist ideas also condemned by the Church but part of the conservative view generally, like the non-confessional state, the economy as "science" first and foremost etc. The pot calling the kettle black is never going to make much difference.

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    1. What is contained in the letter suggesting the Americanist ideas?

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    2. It wasn't the content of the letters that was referred to.

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    3. Miguel Cervantes is right. Which naturally should make one suspicious of these letters. In areas like his critique of contemporary nationalism, Pope Francis is *more* traditionally orthodox than his critics.

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    4. Miguel Cervantes is right. Which naturally should make one suspicious of these letters.

      Oh for goodness' sake, this idiocy again.

      First, Miguel is not right. Many of the organizers and signatories of these various letters and petitions over the years are traditionalists who are critical of classical liberalism, religious liberty, laissez faire, and other aspects of modern politics that contemporary conservatives tend to endorse. That is precisely why the people involved in these things are often tarred by their critics as "reactionaries," Lefebvrists, etc. Miguel doesn't know what the hell he is talking about.

      Second, even if Miguel were correct, it would be completely irrelevant. What one thinks about Amoris Laetitia, for example, has no essential connection to what one thinks about free market economics, John Locke and Adam Smith, the confessional state, etc.

      Here's a newsflash, guys: Not everyone has politics on the brain the way you do. When you accuse these people of political motivations, you are projecting.

      Not to mention committing textbook examples of the red herring and well-poisoning fallacies. Here's a friendly suggestion: How about taking an afternoon to read a logic book rather than blog comboxes.

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    5. From my lay perspective, all the traditionalists I know of are on the right or far right.

      Either Dr. Feser knows of some left-wing/centrist traditionalists I've missed, or I've mistakenly understood many traditionalists to be more right leaning than they actually are.

      And I don't think this is an example of a red herring. Miguel's point was that the open letter wouldn't make a difference. I don't think that's irrelevant to the conversation. Especially if the Church is in as grave danger as many on this blog seem to think, pragmatics is something to be concerned with. Maybe a solution would be to work to combat some of the "Americanist" heresies while combatting the "Modernists" ones?

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    6. Politics belongs to the archetype "total bastard." Machiavelli wrote the book "How to Be a Total Bastard" that narcissists study but he himself threw away as being kindergarten material.

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    7. Catholic tradition isn't just smells and bells and being attacked doesn't mean one get's it right (otherwise, judging by the kind words from this blog, I would be infallible).
      Criticism of the signatories will have to stand; one could look at them one by one, but perhaps it's better not to. Fr Thomas Crean for example, simply tries to reconcile the woeful position on religious liberty at Vatican II with traditional teaching: standard conservative fare.


      The problem remains: why pick on Pope Francis when equally doubtful doctrinal expressions can be sourced to other post-conciliar Popes? Why the urgency with Pope Francis?

      Secondly, if it is admitted that the criticism of the signatories is right, how could it not be relevant? If a group of individuals (not a very relevant one in the Universal Church) pens a letter accusing the Pope of heresy (stating that their action sets the stage for a Papal "impeachment") yet themselves promote errors rejected by the Church, how on earth could this be "completely irrelevant"? Recognizing pots calling kettles black has always been supremely effective in evaporating their credibility.
      Having a soft spot for the free market ideology, John Locke or the non-confessional state puts one out of the market for rude letters to the Pope on doctrinal issues.

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    8. Joe H,

      I'm not sure what you mean. Who said any of them were left-wing? Not me.

      What Miguel and Curio object to is standard contemporary American conservatism of the kind that heartily endorses capitalism, the separation of Church and state, religious pluralism, a republican polity over monarchy, etc., just as much as liberals do. They see this kind of conservatism as conceding too much too modernity. What I was saying is that many of the people who have been involved with these various letters and petitions over the years would actually sympathize with Miguel and Curio about that. The traditionalists I have in mind are not criticizing modern capitalism, etc. from the left, but rather from a position further to the right.

      And sorry, but it is entirely a red herring. Whether the pope's statements in Amoris Laetitia, or on the plurality of religions, or on capital punishment, etc. are in continuity with tradition or not has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what one thinks about capitalism, Donald Trump, or all the other utter irrelevancies certain politics-obsessed people are always trying to drag into every conversation.

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    9. Cardinal Burke's address at the Roman Forum 2018 on Pope Leo XIII establishing the Feast of Christ the King where he refused to mention the confessional state. And his teaming up with Bannon, famous for his espousal of philosophical traditionalism condemned by the Church? It's not politics that is the problem. It is the conservative ideology that is moving into the Church as aa false alternative to the liberalism that everyone can see. Catholicism please!

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    10. @Cervantes

      That "feserismisnotthomism" nonsense of yours is really starting to get out of hand.

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    11. So you approve of Cardinal Burke setting out to fix the Church with the help of Bannon, whose head is so full of errors it's like a Syllabus gone viral?

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    12. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but the only connection I've been able to identify between Cardinal Burke and Steve Bannon was a brief face to face meeting way back in...2014.

      Whatever it is that Steve Bannon is up to with regards to Church politics, I haven't been able to dig up any evidence that Cardinal Burke is in any way involved with it (which, I suspect, is a disappointment to Bannon).

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    13. They are both deeply involved in the Dignitatis Humanae Institute in Lazio. It is terrible for burke to be doing this. The Institute avoids any mention of the Catholic Faith and Bannon is an out and out supporter of esoteric ideas received from Evola and Guenon. conservatism in action. Yuck!

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    14. #cervantismisnotthomism
      #castilloimperialismisnotcatholicism

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    15. Sed contra

      #thatisnotananswer


      Mewing and barking leads nowhere. Defend yourself with arguments or retire.

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  3. If the Pope were forced to declare a heresy ex cathedra with a gun pointing to his head, would this oblige the pope to martyrdom or would the ex cathedra statement be null due to duress?

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    1. I think it would oblige the pope to martyrdom, as you suggested.

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    2. Either the pope would have to allow himself to be killed, of course. It's not significantly different from the early popes who were pushed to worship idols and refused.

      Note, however, that the correct phrasing is not "if the Pope were forced to..." Holding a gun to someone's head does not "force" him to commit a sin. Calling it "forced" muddles the whole point, a threat of being killed certainly raises the stakes for doing the moral thing, but does not force the person to commit a sin. And the examples of all the martyrs shows us this very point. A person remains free to decline and take whatever consequences God decides to permit the murderers: sometimes God permits them to murder, sometimes He refuses and does not allow any harm to befall the good Catholic.

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    3. @Tony,


      So duress wouldn't count as a removal of the validity of the ex cathedra? In other words, the Pope is protected from declaring ex cathedra error not just completely intentionally, but even if he were forced to do it under threat of death?

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    4. Personally, my opinion is that just as God simply won't let a pope freely issue a wrong statement under ex cathedra conditions, He also won't let a pope issue a wrong statement under conditions that appear to be ex cathedra conditions, saving only the issue of duress. The reason is that duress is (often) capable of a matter of degree and thus can be the subject of doubt as to whether there was "enough" duress to make the act not free "enough".

      I wish I could say the same of an election of a pope that was troubled by claims of either duress or other improprieties (including, as with the present pope, improprieties involving vote-gathering beforehand, etc.) It could be worrisome to imagine something new coming out about Francis' election that would show the process so degraded or not-free that it amounts to a false election. It seems highly implausible, on its face, so at this late date I have to assume that any such idea is a mere fantasy... but the possibility in the future seems open. And we do have examples from the past of problematic elections.

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    5. @ JoeD

      Yes, duress would vitiate the act of any value, as you suggest. This is obvious to any Aristotelian, no?

      In fact, Liberius is said to have acted under duress (on the hypothesis that he signed any semi-Arian creed at all) and according to the theologians this suffices to eliminate his act from consideration as counter-example to papal infallibility.

      Most of the stuff raised in these online controversies is not actually controversial any more, it's all been thrashed out over centuries and consensus reached on most of it. It would be good if people would read some theology before guessing...

      Regards,
      John.

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  4. The whole thing seems very badly thought out. One of the errors is focusing on canonical delict; this makes it a matter not of what can be reasonably argued but of what is actually in force under canon law as we actually have it. This is a matter for canon lawyers, not for philosophers and theologians, who as such can at best discuss what the law should be, and not what in fact the law requires and allows. And there are obvious problems about how this would have to be handled in terms of canon law -- What is the competent tribunal? How do the relevant canons apply to the supreme legislator? What would be the relevant procedure in this case for determining whether the delict has in fact been committed? Outside an answer to such questions entirely in canon law, the letter is no more than an allegation that cannot be properly adjudicated. It is a grave error to assume that the conditions for the canonical delict are just whatever anyone could argue, rather than being what can be established by a relevant legal and judicial authority according to the relevant legal and judicial standards; the argument they give is not even the right kind of argument for the conclusion that they draw, and there are good reasons why almost every canon lawyer to consider the open letter has simply dismissed it. I presume that the reason they went this route was to try to force some kind of action, but in fact all it does is give the bishops reason to ignore it.

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  5. What would happen if a pope taught that receiving the number 666 on your forehead or right hand would give the newly marked a plenary indulgence?

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  6. Does anyone remember what article Feser brought this up before: "To take an example I have used in the past, even the statement “God does not exist” could be given an orthodox interpretation if you strain hard enough. You could say: “What I mean when I say that is that God does not ‘exist’ in the sense of merely having or participating in existence, the way other things do. Rather, he just is Subsistent Being Itself and the source of the existence of other things.”"

    I think he said more about it in a previous post but can't remember which one it is.

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    1. I think it is in the comments in the blogpost "The Church permits criticism of the pope under certain circunstances"or something like that

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    2. It was in my post "Denial flows into the Tiber," linked to above.

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  7. If Francis is not a heretic, there was never, and there will never be a true heretic. The nature and extent of this crisis is unique. The regular weapons, canons, and arguments won't do. How do you argue with a pope whose defenders say is not bound by Tradition or Scripture? Whose closest advisors say that, in theology, 2+2=5? We are at the level of survival, of self-defense. If someone is coming to murder your family, quoting caselaw or Scripture just won't do. That's why I think these folks had to resort to this nuclear option.

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    1. If someone is coming to murder your family, quoting caselaw or Scripture just won't do.

      Interestingly, the martyrs did that: quote Scripture at the murderers. And got murdered. It worked for them, and for the Church. Just because somebody is doing something unjust to you, does not mean God wants you to kill them to prevent it. Sometimes God requires that you submit to the injustice because you have no moral and licit alternatives.

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    2. A bit of a difference, here, Tony. The righteous Martyrs were put to death by external threats to the Church. Their witness and example helped strengthen the Church, the Body of Christ. In this present case, however, we have the Church being "attacked" from the inside, by unfaithful, heretical or even apostate clerics. I will leave off specifically accusing the Holy Father on this score...however, it is certainly evident that this is the case with the "lavender mafia", and the widespread moral and liturgical abuse occurring within the presbyterium and episcopate.

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    3. Mostly. But the Arians in the Church attacked Athanasius, and he was excommunicated for his orthodoxy. As were others like him.

      St. Joan of Arc was attacked by Church leaders. (Sure, it was on behalf of political ends, but it was done through the Church and her doctrinal/ecclesiastical powers.)

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  8. In regard to heresy, I find the case of Erasmus of particular interest. St. Alphonsus mentions him in his "History of Heresies":

    "Erasmus, who took the lead among the Rhetoricians, began by deriding, first, the style, and, next, the arguments of the Theologians; he called their Theology Judaism, and said that the proper understanding of Ecclesiastical science depended altogether on erudition and the knowledge of languages. Many writers openly charge Erasmus with heresy : he explained everything just as it pleased himself, says Victorinus (5), and vitiated everything he explained. Albert Pico, Prince of Carpi, a man of great learning (6), and a strenuous opponent of the errors of Erasmus, assures us that he called the Invocation of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints idolatry ; condemned Monasteries, and ridiculed the Religious, calling them actors and cheats, and condemned their vows and rules ; was opposed to the Celibacy of the Clergy, and turned into mockery Papal Indulgences, relics of Saints, feasts and fasts, auricular Confession ; asserts that by Faith alone man is justified (7), and even throws a doubt on the authority of the Scripture and Councils (8). In the preface to one of his works he says (9), it is rash to call the Holy Ghost God. " Audemus Spiritum Sanctum, appellare, Deum quod veteres ausi, non sunt." Noel Alexander informs us (10), that in 1527 the Faculty of Paris condemned several propositions taken from his works, and that at the Council of Trent the Car dinals appointed by Paul III. to report on the abuses which needed reformation, called on him to prohibit in the schools the reading of the Colloquies of Erasmus, in which are many things that lead the ignorant to impiety. He was, however, esteemed by several Popes, who invited him to Rome, to write against Luther, and it was even reported that Paul III. intended him for the Cardinalship. We may conclude with Bernini, that he died with the character of an unsound Catholic, but not a heretic, as he submitted his writings to the judgment of the Church, and Varillas (11) says he always remained firm in the Faith, not withstanding all the endeavours of Luther and Zuinglius to draw him to their side. He died in Basle in 1536, at the age of 70 (12)."

    How is it that a man can have denied all such doctrines, yet not be a formal heretic, (rather he was classified as an "unsound Catholic")? It seems that long as a man claims to be a loyal Catholic (and Pope Francis has claimed as much I believe), then not withstanding his statements, he cannot be classified as pertinacious or obstinate (something that is required for formal heresy as a canonical crime).

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    1. It may not be that he always believed such things or that such statements were not truly what he espoused.
      But, supposing he did indeed say all these things and continued to believe it somehow, I would think it would be because he was not corrected. He submitted to the proper authorities and fought against the new heresies of protestantism, therefore it is seeming he means to keep the Catholic Faith. Now, that does sound unrealistic, but perhaps it is as it is.

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  9. Christian theology, and catholic theology in particular, is so rich, so intellectual.

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  10. I agree with what many good people have said: the Pope must be accorded due process, and in particular the process laid down by canon law. He must be allowed to explain his statements and reconcile them with Catholic doctrine, or retract them.

    But this Pope is himself obstructing due process by his refusal to account for his statements and actions and to reconcile them with Catholic teaching.

    (OK: he did explain to Bishop Schneider that in saying God wills a diversity of religions in the Abu Dhabi statement he meant God so wills with his permissive will. But this action of his (informing Bishop Schneider privately) raises more questions than it answers. E.g. Did he let his co-signatory Dr. Ahmed At-Tayyeb know that that was his understanding of the statement ... ie, that the existence of Islam and all other religions apart from the one true Religion is an evil that, far from celebrating, God merely tolerates in order to draw good therefrom, as he did with the “Felix Culpa”, the original sin of Adam that created a rebellion of mankind against God? When you sign a contract with someone knowing you and the co-signer have mutually exclusive understandings of the essential terms, isn’t that a form of base dishonesty (note: Islam blesses this behaviour as Taqiyya. In Catholicism, all lies are mortal sins.) and at law one that annuls a contract?)
    As far as I can tell, Canon Law, steeped as it is even today in oldy-worldy assumptions of honour and responsibility, even amongst the heathen, doesn't envisage the stubborn refusal of a Pope (or anyone else) to account for himself. It assumes someone accused of heresy will have the common decency to front up and 1. recant, or 2. explain how their teaching is in fact reconcilable with Catholic doctrine ("I meant 'God does not exist' in (the sense Dr F. explains)”) or 3. maintain their belief against what they know is the teaching of the Church, knowing the consequences.

    I think the Open Letter probably breaks the rules. But so did Pope Francis. And – to evoke sandpit fights among children – he did it first! He has strayed beyond Canon Law by his stubborn silence. And since it doesn’t provide for this situation (the Pope of dialogue refusing to, er, dialogue) which is shaking the Church to its foundations, humanly speaking, maybe we have to go beyond Canon Law, as currently laid down, to deal with him.

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    1. "Islam blesses this behaviour as Taqiyya"

      Note: this is a Shi'a belief, not one that Islam as a whole blesses.

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    2. @Hugh,


      In Catholicism, all lies are mortal sins.


      This is false. Lying is, in most cases, a venial sin, and only mortal insofar as additional circumstances add to it's gravity (i.e. disparaging someone to ruin their life, lying to steal all their money and bankrupt them, etc).

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    3. Thanks, JoeD. Yes, but no. See Aquinas II IIae, Q 110, Art. 4. I'm assuming that in signing the Abu Dhabi statement, Pope Francis is neither joking, nor lying for the sake of the good of his co-signatory (e.g. "I'm signing this statement implying God positively wills Islam to exist, which I know to be false, so that the Imam will be inspired to become a Catholic and thereby save his soul.") All lies apart from these are mortal. Whether statistically most lies actually told are jocose or officious, so only venial sins, is a moot point. I think it best to assume that if lying is of any consequence, it's a mortal sin, in contradistinction to the doctrine of Taqiyya.

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    4. St. Thomas does not set forth the criteria of lying in which the sins are mortal or venial simply by reason of being jocose or officious (and thus venial) or otherwise (and therefore mortal). It's more involved. His first distinction is about the nature of the truth the lying is about: if it is about divine truths, it is contrary to charity in itself, (regardless of whether it be jocose or officious) and thus mortal. If it be about things the knowledge of which affects a man's good in fundamental, necessary ways, then it is against charity and mortal. The second distinction is about the end/purpose of the act; if it be jocose or officious, these ends are not sinful ends, and the lie is not mortal from its end. But if the end is to harm a person, that end makes the sin mortal.

      If the Pope said something untrue that he knew was untrue, in regards to whether God intends a plurality of religions, that would seem to be in the first category. But there is no reason to assume that what the Pope said he knew to be untrue as stated - i.e. with the signification he thought he was giving.

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    5. Something being true in a sense not particularly clear is not necessarily a lie. But, I do think Pope Francis (in charity) was meaning to help the Christians in Muslim lands.

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    6. In that article of the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas starts his argument with:
      "On the contrary, Augustine says on Psalm 5:7, "Thou wilt destroy," etc.: There are two kinds of lie, that are not grievously sinful yet are not devoid of sin, when we lie either in joking, or for the sake of our neighbor's good." But every mortal sin is grievous. Therefore jocose and officious lies are not mortal sins."
      This does say that officious and jocose lies are venial, but it doesn't say that all other lies are mortal.

      Later in that article, Aquinas writes:
      "On the other hand, if the false opinion engendered by the lie be about some matter the knowledge of which is of no consequence, then the lie in question does no harm to one's neighbor; for instance, if a person be deceived as to some contingent particulars that do not concern him. Wherefore a lie of this kind, considered in itself, is not a mortal sin."

      So, in addition to jocose and officious lies, lies about inconsequential matters are also venial. A lie that is neither jocose nor officious is not necessarily mortal.

      (The fact that you said "I think it best to assume that if lying is of any consequence, it's a mortal sin," might suggest that you already thought that lies about inconsequential matters were venial, but you've also repeatedly said that only jocose and officious lies are venial, so I'll suppose that you didn't already think that.)

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    7. Hugh, if you read the Qur'an, you will see that the Qur'an is consistent against lying and any form of deceit whatsoever.

      Stop reading the nonsense ignorance and lies spouted by Right wing nuts

      The whole issue of Taqiya just proves the point how adamant Islam is against lying.

      When due to political reasons (this was not due to Sunni beliefs but because Shias politically did not accept Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs and multiple efforts to overthrow the caliphs were organized by some Shia leaders in that time period) over a thousand years ago, many Shias were killed, some in that community wondered if they conceal that they are Shias.

      So even when they felt their life was in danger, they still wondered if they can still conceal their sectarian affiliation...that is when this doctrine was started in some Shia circles. It is only to in the narrow situation of protecting them from physical harm in that time period that started this doctrine which is a nauseatingly non-issue but a darling of the Right wing nuts.

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  11. There is no "due process" to which the Pope has to respond (Americanism is really getting out of control). This is the position of Canon Law.

    Bishop Scheider's position that we should bear witness or criticise, but not attempt to "impeach" the Pope is correct.

    The comparison with fighting children is a good one, but Pope Francis didn't "start it" - wobbly doctrinal expressions have been in fashion generally since the 1960s and both Rome and its critics have not been immune (for example, the confused notions on religious liberty shared by most of the signatories of these letters).

    However, this is the Church, not the Judge Judy show, and those who would pretend to impeach the Pope have doubtful ideological credentials. After all, Judge Judy is a real judge, not someone recruited from the ranks of car thieves.

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  12. Dear Ed,

    I didn't write in anger, not a bit of it. Not sure how you gleaned that impression, but no doubt it's my own fault.

    I'm a trad. I think that the imposition, by force, against all objections, of numerous "reforms" which all tended to undermine the faith, by Paul VI especially, was catastrophic, unprecedented, and poses numerous ecclesiological conundrums in trying to explain how it could happen.

    The Novus Ordo Missae is a new, synthetic, rite, developed by known heresiarchs including Bugnini, and its effects included contributing to the loss of vocations of at least fifty thousand priests (yes, 50,000+ in the ten years from 1965 to 1975). The Church doesn't do synthetic new rites. Something entirely weird happened in 1969. This horror is now old and venerable, so that people immersed in it can't see it for what it is, and don't know what it does to faith.

    An analogy: A passing yachtsman plucks you out of the sea after the sinking of the Titanic, in his 30' sailboat. Downstairs it's cosy, has cushions, and there's a Primus stove for you to enjoy a hot tea. It isn't the Titanic, but everything seems so nice that the Titanic is forgotten...

    Yes, crazy. Nothing like that is even remotely possible. Except that's about the position of non-trad Catholics after the 'sixties. You talk about the potential loss of unity which might occur, as if the unity of the Church were not shattered during and after V2. For a corrective, I suggest reading The Torn Tunic, by Tito Cassini, or Fr. Paul Wickens' book, The Great Sacrilege, or for the real thinkers, Iota Unum, Romano Amerio. I've said nothing as strong as Amerio here, and he was a professor of philosophy, and a very cool analyst.

    Yours,
    John.

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  13. @Hugh

    "I agree with what many good people have said: the Pope must be accorded due process, and in particular the process laid down by canon law."

    The pope is not subject to canon law, period. Giving him "due process" is implicitly heretical. The First See is judged by no-one. (Constance was heretical on this score, which is why the relevant decrees were not confirmed by the pope, Martin V, after the Council. they remained dead letters.) The only path to ridding the Church of Francis is arrive at the judgement of reason that he isn't pope, after which any process at all would be lawful - because he isn't pope.

    This isn't going to happen, and I agree that the letter-writers are wasting their time if they think it is going to happen. But there is value in accusing a heretic of heresy - it aids souls to be on their guard.

    Regards,
    John.

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    1. I agree that there is very little chance anything will come of it. At least, not without some great miraculous intervention by God. But God DOES sometimes intervene, and there is some small chance that God will follow up on this with ... I don't know what, but something unforeseen ... and the letter will have been a piece of the providential order leading to it. A small chance is good enough, if you are doing what God asks of you.

      I also agree with the point that testifying to the truth in the face of a heretic spouting his errors is, often, enough of a justification all by itself. It doesn't require that the heretic convert, or that he cease and desist, for your testimony to the truth to be a good thing. If even one other person is led to remain in the truth instead of being led astray by the heretic, this is a great good. If you are doing what God wants of you.

      The question here is whether it was appropriate for these men to put their names to a letter which is, at least by Feser's account (and my reading was similar to his) rather undisciplined in its address to the problems. Yes, Francis's words (and actions) are full of problems. But going off half-cocked against his errors is not the solution. Now, this letter is a far sight better than "half-cocked", true. But the letter is not a blog comment criticizing the sports writer in the local paper of poor writing or poor analysis of a game. It is accusing Christ's Vicar on Earth of one of the most serious crimes, which would (putatively) remove him from office (if confirmed). The bar here is high. You should dot your i's and cross your t's when you do that. For instance, the authors should have consulted a couple of canon lawyers to get their canon law very, very clear, very precise. Secondly, they should have identified only overwhelmingly clear examples of the heresies being taught, not amorphous ones that are hard to pin down in the concrete, in order to make their points manifest and beyond doubt.

      Lastly, they might have made a better show of why it is that THEY are called out to assert these accusations. Yes, there are plenty of facts for people to hone in on and talk about: why, specifically, are THEY the ones God intended to write an open letter to the bishops? Maybe (just to mention on of many alternatives) each one should have been writing these things to his own bishop, since it is his own ordinary (a) with whom he has an ecclesial relationship, and (b) who thus has an obligation to actually respond to a reasonable request by one of the faithful in his jurisdiction.

      These men put to pen many of the things I have been thinking about for 2 or 3 years. But I wish they had gone about it better.

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  14. Fr. Aidan Nichols is a good example of the confusion that has reigned in the Church in recent decades. In this exchange:(https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/10/27/did-vatican-ii-usher-in-our-secular-age/) while affirming is support for traditional teaching on religious liberty, he goes on to claim that the Vatican II (what he terms a "new" doctrine) foundation of religious toleration on the dignity of the human person was just "homogenous development" of doctrine. Not so. The profession of error had always been regarded as an evil and its toleration was based upon prudence and the greater good, not human dignity. Human dignity does not give people the right to profess error any more than it gives them the right to sell cocaine. In addition to this, the matter has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of forcing a profession of the Catholic Faith.


    Fr. Nichols also professes support for a "Judeao-Christian" tradition, regurgitating the label invented in the post-War United States with the express purpose of creating a civil religion that would not be specifically Christian. The Church has suffered a sort of invasion of liberal ideas from the world. Let's not be stupid and allow a counter invasion of conservativism from the world and its ideologies, posing as the solution. The Cardinal Burke/Steve Bannon team now trying to manipulate things in Rome is a scandal.


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    1. > "Judeao-Christian" tradition, regurgitating the label invented in the post-War United States with the express purpose of creating a civil religion that would not be specifically Christian

      Claiming this label was invented "express purpose of creating a civil religion that would not be specifically Christian". Is a mighty strong claim that most would reject. The burden of proof, of which you provide none, is on you to support the claim that "Judeao-Christian" was created for the "express purpose of creating a civil religion that would not be specifically Christian". I look forward to reading the forthcoming documentation proving the assertion.

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    2. Phillip Almond, a liberal academic specialising in religious studies has written a good overview:
      https://www.abc.net.au/religion/is-there-really-a-judeo-christian-tradition/10810554
      There are some silly liberal stereotypes but he makes some points:
      "It is worth emphasising that Judaism and Christianity are, more or less, the same age and share a common religious heritage."
      "It may come as a surprise to many that it has a very short history. In its current dominant meaning, it is virtually unknown before the Second World War, only really coming into vogue in the mid-1940s."
      "Simply put, then, there is no such thing as the "Judeo-Christian tradition." It is a modern invention... The term "Judeo-Christian tradition" continues the suppression of Jewishness by hiding the essential differences between Judaism and Christianity, one of which is that each denies the validity of the other. As Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits puts it, 'Judaism is Judaism because it rejects Christianity, and Christianity is Christianity because it rejects Judaism.' "

      Of course he's looking at religion from the outside, as a phenomenon, which is also the essence of the conservative, Burkean view repeated by Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and cited in the article:
      "[Our form of government] has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don't care what it is. With us of course it is the Judeo-Christian concept but it must be a religion that all men are created equal."
      First comes Enlightenment and Renaissance ideology (precocious and bound to conservatism as mother, father, midwife, son, bastard and umbilical cord) then comes "religion" as something useful to society. Dogmas, as Burke wrote, are a matter of preference.
      How about we be Thomists on the subject, rather than tout some meaningless post-Thomism?

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    3. Tom,

      The wikipedia article on the subject lends support to Miguel's claim.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judeo-Christian_ethics

      The idea that a common Judeo-Christian ethics or Judeo-Christian values underpins American politics, law and morals has been part of the "American civil religion" since the 1940s.

      And:

      Promoting the concept of the United States as a Judeo-Christian nation first became a political program in the 1940s, in response to the growth of anti-Semitism in America. ...

      In this effort, precursors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews created teams consisting of a priest, a rabbi, and a minister, to run programs across the country, and fashion a more pluralistic America, no longer defined as a Christian land, but "one nurtured by three ennobling traditions: Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism. ... The phrase 'Judeo-Christian' entered the contemporary lexicon as the standard liberal term for the idea that Western values rest on a religious consensus that included Jews."

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    4. Whether the notion that most common 1940's to 1970's take on the relation of civil order to religious sentiment truly is an invention of the 20th century or not, it is both balderdash and offensive to Catholicism to assert that Christianity does not share a religious heritage with Judaism. It is Catholic teaching that the foundations of Christian doctrine are found in the religious revelations to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the Jewish prophets. And that the religion of the Hebrews, when understood rightly by the Hebrews in the period before Christ, was essentially the same as what came to be Christianity (with the additional datum that Christ fulfilled in concrete the foretelling of a Messiah). And (so it is argued), the differences now found between Jews and Christians is due to Jews of the first and second century AD choosing to depart from their roots to some extent.

      The empirical fact that there is a divergence between Christianity and Judaism cannot be "proof" that there is no shared root, any more that the fact that there is a divergence between Catholicism and Protestantism "proves" that they have no shared root. Unless you want to propose that there is nothing shared between Judaism and the religion of Abraham and Moses.*

      That a foolish Catholic effort to water down the differences so as to "create" a national religion of watered down nonsense also does not prove that there is no shared root to Christianity and Judaism. All it does is prove that Some Catholics and Protestants (and Jews) were foolish about it.

      (*Admittedly, those who have become heretics by knowingly rejecting one tenet of Divine Revelation ultimately are not faithful, and thus are wholly departed from the true religion. But they still empirically take at least some of their beliefs from the true original source. And their children, who do NOT knowingly reject a tenet of Divine Revelation, are often materially heretical but (like poorly taught Catholics) might actually have the grace of faith for all that, baptism being effective as it is even upon Protestants.)

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    5. "it is both balderdash and offensive to Catholicism to assert that Christianity does not share a religious heritage with Judaism."

      Well that isn't what was asserted, so no problem. :)

      I agree that "Judeao-Christian tradition" is almost exclusively used as a label for a chimerical notion that includes the falsehood that religious Jews have contributed significantly to the culture of the West. They haven't. The religious Jews always formed a tiny and largely irrelevant minority without influence on Christian culture or ethics, except insofar as Jewish activists supported efforts to disintegrate Christian unity, as they did during the Protestant Revolt. Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice gives a better picture of just how much ethical and philosophical unity Judaism and Christianity shared...

      The influence of Jews in the USA and the West generally in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was significant, but in most cases they were irreligious Jews such as Chaim Weizmann (UK), or Louis Brandeis (US). Putting either of those into a frame such as "Judeao-Christian" would be wordplay worthy of WS Gilbert or PG Wodehouse.

      Regards,
      John.

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    6. Tony,

      while Catholics share some doctrines and scriptures with Judaism, those things don't come from Judaism, which exists because of a rejection of the Hebrew Christian vocation.

      The new religion, by definition, began at the same time as Christianity and therefore there was no Judaism in the Old Testament. During most of that chronological period there were no Jews either. Our religion began before Abraham.

      If sharing some roots justifies hyphenating God's revelation and the civilisation that grew from it and bringing in something foreign, we ought to speak of Lutheran-Catholicism, Islamo-Christianism etc. If we focus on one aspect (for example, human dignity - which was valued by our religion before Jews existed), this is merely a dissection of religion and an external view of it.

      Religion isn't produced by people or peoples. It is given to us whole by God through revelation.

      The motive, period and context of the invention of the term Judaeo-Christian is very important because that is what gives it its meaning. Using it in Catholic religious discussion is an invasion of a foreign ideology, conservatism. Insistence of its use is a case of having "politics on the brain". Catholicism please.


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    7. The wiki page does not assert anything close to the claim that "Judeao-Christian" was created for the " express purpose of creating a civil religion that would not be specifically Christian".

      The words "created for the express purpose" are targeted at intent, The intent of the phrase Judeao-Christian" is a positive response of anti-semitism , to include Jews, rather to be create something that was ant-Christian

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    8. A definition which includes Judaism, or Islam or whatever, ceases to be specifically Christian.

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  15. As "A Man For All Seasons" would remind us, "Qui tacet consentire videtur" -- silence gives consent. Pope Francis has had many, many opportunities to contradict heretical readings of his documents and statements, but he has not done so. Hence it follows that he consents to having his documents interpreted as supporting heresy. But who would ever consent to this, if they were not a heretic? And if the Pope consents to being interpreted as supporting heresy, how can he or his defenders object if people treat him as one who supports heresy?

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  16. Ed
    Firstly, putting aside the Church's canonical and theological constructs within which "heresy" is defined and which are just beyond the comprehension and understanding of the lay Catholic like myself and many other smelly sheep congregated in the pews of our beloved Church, I can only state that prima facie Pope Francis has sowed confusion in the Church with a litany of pronouncements over the last 6 years that on the surface challenges authentic and traditional Catholic Church teaching beginning with "Whom am I to Judge" when asked how he would act as a confessor to a gay man. This set the scene for the drama we are seeing unfold today.Many faithful Catholics are quiet rightly very concerned about this pontificate but as you said "Who decides which group of bishops is right? And does Francis cease being pope under these circumstances? If not, why not? " and with which I unequivocally agree and therein actually lies the answer.No one actually has the authority to depose a defective Pope not even an Anti Pope. This authority has been reserved solely for the sovereign Triune God lest we forget Christ's words "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". The Lord Sovereign is telling us openly that the Church will ultimately prevail regardless of the devastation that might confront her.Divine providence will prevail.No man can take away the keys given to Peter by Christ.Only Christ has that authority.

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    1. The University of Paris thought they could overturn a pope during the time of Joan of Arc. They did not actually do so but it is clear the pope was in fear that they would. i.e. the pope turning her trial and the one at the time of her being burned at the stake.

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    2. By that time, France was riddled with Conciliarism. No go. Outcomes in Rome can reflect the lie of the ground in the Church "materially", but not "formally".

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    3. Thank you for that insight. I did not realize there is a difference.

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  17. hey you are saying that the pope has made controversial statements for example about contraception.

    what do you think about his statement that families should not breed in excess and that about 3 kids is optimal? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30890989

    is he contradicting teacing there or is 3 children an okay number for families acording to the church?

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    1. Mordechai of BingenMay 8, 2019 at 4:47 PM

      This has nothing to do with the number of children. It has everything to do with the use of contraceptives themselves, the use of which is intrinsically evil. Please acquaint yourself with the natural law account of marriage and sexual intercourse. You may also refer to Ed's previous posts where he has already addressed this subject many times.

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    2. i have read about the natural law and i have read most if not all of eds previous post about that.
      he says one should have a large family but i dont think he defines really what a large family is.

      is it more than one child? or at least 3 or more? i dont think he has adressed that and the the popes statement.

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    3. "...his statement...that about 3 kids is optimal"

      is not the same as:

      "...he said population experts advised three children per family"

      With these remarks, is he talking about limiting children for the sake of your own family (including yourself), or limiting children for the sake of those external to your family (such as some wider social concern)?

      I would hope its the former, but his various comments about the environment and immigration makes it a bit confusing.

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    4. your right, but i wonder if he is contradicting church teacing or if three children falls within what the church would call a large family.

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    5. There is not and has never been any formal Church declaration that "one should have a large family" full stop. However, it belongs to the natural law that there should be, in marriage, a natural intention to produce children. It belongs to the nature of marriage that it be for the sake of children, and there is - at the primary level of just "the nature of marriage itself" no specific, definite limit to how many are good. Children ARE GOOD, they are a good of marriage, and as such, more than one is a multiplicity of good, and being irrepeatable persons, each additional person is a new good for the family.

      The limiting factors come rather from something distinct from the nature of marriage itself. These can be intra-family, or extra-family causes, both are real and valid reasons to limit family size according to the natural law. For one thing, nature does not intend only the mere existence of children, but their growth to maturity. Limiting the rate of bearing children and or the total number of children so that the parents can properly attend to the children and bring them fully to maturity is thus following the natural law: if a family's resources will not stretch to several more children's necessary expenses, or if a mother's health will be seriously damaged by bearing children too quickly, these are reasons to slow down. External factors also are applicable: A country at war, or a country which is undergoing a contraction of necessary resources (say, the country just lost a war and lost a major food-producing province), could be reasons to delay having children. This kind of factor can range even as far as the overall needs of the whole world - if we could accurately assess the implications of the population growth rate and the resource distributions necessary. Ultimately, this consideration can be grounded in the Bible: in Genesis, God gave Adam and Eve both a blessing and a command: fill the Earth. This implies a preference toward having children, but also entails a possible limit - when the Earth is full.

      There is nothing wrong with a Pope suggesting that we may be nearing the point where we can consider the Earth as full. Francis, unfortunately, expressed rather several unthoughtful ways of considering this and rather few helpful ways of discussing this - i.e. his remarks conform rather well to the social liberal attitudes and not all that readily to natural law and traditional Catholic doctrine on the issues.

      Delete
  18. I think Bouix makes some very strong points about any hypothetical measures against an heretical pope, which have bearing on the open letter and the course of action which it asks the bishops to make (regardless of whether Pope Francis is indeed guilty of what they claim). Namely, Bouix points out that the faithful are in no wise obliged to accept the theological opinion, espoused by the letter, which states that a pope heretic can be declared deposed by the bishops and another elected in his place, and hence the faithful are likewise not obliged to accept whomever is elected ex hypothesi in the subsequent conclave—and thus the way is paved for "a most intricate schism", in which each person will resort to their conscience in choosing whom to follow. And this doesn't even get into the difficulties which would abound if bishops were to refuse to participate in the declaration of deposition, whether it's made in a council of some sort or not.
    https://lumenscholasticum.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/bouix-on-the-pope-heretic/

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  19. Here's Fr. Wathen's (The Great Sacrilege) description of the state of the Church after the imposition of the New Mass:

    "From the day of the installation of the 'New Mass,' to this present one, the whole Church lies like a wounded animal, and the whole world watches in stunned disbelief. The disruption is complete. The churches are the scenes of countless, indescribable profanations, and the behavior of many Catholics, particularly many priests and religious, borders on total madness."

    The emptying of the religious institutes (entire monasteries and convents were shut down within a few years of V2), the collapse of vocations, the immediate and rapid decline of the number of children in families, from full-sized families of ten or more children down to a maximum of three, the phenomenal flood of priests away from their vocations (estimates vary from 50,000 to 100,000 in ten years, but the Vatican won't reveal the official number), not to mention the radical increase, almost cliff-like, of sexual abuse, all of this chaos was unprecedented.

    It's settled down now, or we've gotten used to it so the shock has gone (it's both - we're less spiritually sensitive, and the clown masses are fewer); but we really are living in a kind of stupor, where possible future issues loom larger than actual facts.

    The problem here is not primarily doctrinal, it's ignorance of fact. People are not aware of what their parents or grandparents did, or endured. They simply don't know. Hence the impression that things are rough, but within the range of normal. This impression is entirely wrong, in my opinion. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to exaggerate the scale of the crisis in the Church. It's apocalyptic.

    Regards,
    John.

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  20. I say, if we can call Paul VI a saint, we can call Francis a Catholic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I'd say, if you can't call the Pope Catholic, you're not Catholic either. And do you think Paul VI is in Hell, Diety George?

      Delete
  21. Here is a talk from Fr. Hesse, an Austrian priest who was a cannonist and worked as a secretary for a cardinal. He traveled in America giving talks to traditionalists.

    Here is a two hour talk of the many, and I mean Many, heresies that Popes engaged in. He mentions towards the end that from Pope Pius XII onwards--they were all very very suspect if not heretics. He doesn't have any nice words for Pope John Paul II who he describes as barely theologically literate. I would agree with him because of my own research: here is his talk:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGjNLFtWn3k

    On the proposition that the open letter about Pope Francis won't do anything, I agree. We have a huge huge homosexual problem in the Church---and there is absolutely NOTHING being done about it. I consider the Political Correctness in the Church as heretical if not apostate and again--nothing is being done about that either.

    I have a saying:

    "Modern Roman Catholicism is nothing more than Marxism with a cross".

    Pope Francis is a Marxist. He is a Liberation-Theology influenced priest.

    I consider the whole Church shot thru with the Heresy of Gnosticism and Pope Francis is the Head Gnostic! 99% of the church is gone, I'm afraid.

    Nothing is going to be done--because there are NO men of Action in the Church. The Leadership is devoid of Virtue and so.... The Church is ruled by an Academic class style of people---they are not known for their manliness and so they can't act; they won't act; they are not men of Action. The whole hierarchy is Liberal--they are all liberal--they're in on it!

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    1. He doesn't have any nice words for Pope John Paul II who he describes as barely theologically literate.

      Saint John Paul II was canonized.

      Delete
    2. """"St""""" John Paul II

      Pope John Paul II was a globalist. He was an Internationalist. That means he adopted the teachings of Freemasonry and International Socialism.

      Fr. Malachi Martin, in his book, Keys of this Blood, has for his subtitle, “Pope John Paul II versus Russia and The West For Control of the New World Order”. Instead of fighting the New World Order, Pope John Paul II was a participant and fully engaged in its ideology; in India, giving a speech, Pope John Paul II used the phrase “New World Order”. The New World Order IS Judeo-Masonic-Bolshevism!

      The whole of the Church is converged with the ideology of Freemasonry now, of Rebuilding the Tower of Babel.

      And let me remind all and sundry here before you go off the deep-end about "Judeo-Masonic-Bolshevism"---that is term USED by all good Trad Catholics before Vatican II. It was common lingo. Traditional Catholic outlook is always about upholding the Natural Order---the OLD ORDER. That is where our duty and loyalty lie---to the Old Order, the Natural Order that God ordained.

      For me, anyone who adopts the ideology of Freemasonry or International Socialism has become an apostate. Cultural Marxism as well.

      Delete
    3. That kind of sounds Protestant. Those Babylonian papish fish-mitred priests corrupted the simple faith of Paul!

      Only one thing could convince me that the Roman Catholic Church is apostate, and that would be forcing its adherents to take the mark of the beast. Anything short of that is just propaganda designed to mindcontrol you.

      Delete
  22. I have a political analogy for the problems with the Open Letter. There is a moral and practical difference between Ben Shapiro's or Mark Levin's principled criticisms of Donald Trump vs the wacko jacko conspiracy theories of Rachel Madcow.

    The letter leans more toward Madcow then Shapiro. Granted that comparison may be a bit extreme. Perhaps these 19 theologicans ought not be absolutely compared to Madcow? But I would say they lean in that direction. They mix legitimate criticism of the Pope with weirdness that his defenders will cease upon and throw back in their faces.

    That is the long and the short of it. One could hold a position of fierce criticism of the Pope's reign and deficiencies & still stay this letter was less than helpful.

    PS (If anyone wants too improve my analogy by coming up with a critic of President Trump that is less compotent then Shapiro & Levin but less nutty then Madcow I am all ears).

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    1. I think it might be more charitable to say that the authors of this letter may be as innocent as doves but are not as wise as serpents.

      It's all getting a little out of hand. There's this letter, for example. And look at this comment, up above: "... which is hands-down worse than anything she has ever before endured, an absolutely catastrophic collapse of faith..." The people of God have been through the Fall of Man, the Flood, the Passover, Sennacherib, the destruction of the Temple, the Crucifixion - over 90% of them abandoned Him - the Roman and Jewish persecutions, Arianism, the Arab Conquests, the Great Schism, the Reformation, and sooner or later the Apocalypse... but Pope Francis' stang-like crook is it? This is the end? This is the actual Apocalypse?

      It's just too much.

      Delete
    2. What's "too much" is your thorough-going naturalism, Didymus. I've answered you above, where you made similar astonishingly naturalistic comments.

      Delete
    3. Is the Angel of Death a natural phenomenon? Is Satan? I really don't understand how you're using that word.

      Delete
    4. What theology have you read? Anything?

      "Supernatural" = special society composed of members bound together by supernatural, yet visible, bonds (baptism, and faith & charity, supernatural virtues, externally manifested).

      "Natural" - every other kind of society, including the society of the 12 tribes of Israel, given a supernatural vocation but not composed of any supernatural elements.

      Delete
    5. The statement I made: "an absolutely catastrophic collapse of faith..."

      Your answer: << The people of God have been through the Fall of Man, the Flood, the Passover, Sennacherib, the destruction of the Temple, the Crucifixion >>

      The "People of God" is an amgiguous (Vatican II) term which slathers mud over the relevant distinction between the natural society of the People of Israel (outside of which there was salvation, indeed Job was not a Jew and was obviously a saint and one of the holiest men in the pre-Christian era), and the Church, a supernatural organism founded on supernatural faith, not any natural bond. The events you mention are specifically different, and very obviously so, to the dissolution of the Church by unbelief. The Crucifixion itself occurred prior to the founding of the Church, which in fact was its immediate result - the Fathers say that Christ, the second Adam, slept upon the Cross and the Church (symbolised by the Blood and water) emerged from His side, just as Eve was taken from the first Adam's side during his sleep.

      <<- over 90% of them abandoned Him >>

      Prior to Pentecost, when an immeasurable flood of grace flowed forth, from the merits of Christ, transforming the weak into the strong, and renovating the entire world, as prophesied by Sacred Scripture.

      << - the Roman and Jewish persecutions ... the Arab Conquests... >>

      These were in no way similar to the current crisis, or any collapse of faith, unless of course you are comparing the apostasy of the rulers of Israel at the time of Christ to the apostasy of the Latin Church hierarchy in our day, in which case I say, think hard about that, you might be onto something...

      << Arianism >>

      Similar in many ways, except nowhere near as bad, precisely because Rome held fast. The only reason that anybody accepted any of the horrors of Vatican II or the new sacramental rites and all of the sinful behaviour and faithlessness that followed is they all ostensibly came from Rome. Indeed, I'd wager that the only reason anybody - especially intelligent and serious people like Ed Feser - defends any of it is for the same reason; it apparently all came from Rome and the alternative seems to be to admit that the Church has failed. That's not the only alternative, of course, but that's where the real discussion begins.

      << but Pope Francis' stang-like crook is it? This is the end? This is the actual Apocalypse? >>

      You're quoting me, then assigning my words as though they applied only to some weird symbol Francis uses? I'm attacking Vatican II and the New Mass.

      Delete
    6. >I'm attacking Vatican II and the New Mass.

      Then I put you in the Madcow category. Yours is the opposite error of Pope Francis.

      Sede's, neo-Feeneyites and anti-Vatican II nutters are zero help in this crisis & they like this letter are a liability not a help.

      Cardinal Burke IMHO is the gold standard for loyal and useful criticism of the Holy Father's reign.

      BTW remind me Aquinium are you that fellow I tuffed with in the past who claimed Pope St Paul VI was a homosexual based on some charges levied by a French Communist Pederast named Roger Peyrefitte who for some mad reason you believe over a Papal Saint?

      My memory is fuzzy do save me the trouble of looking threw past posts.

      Delete
    7. "I'm attacking Vatican II and the New Mass..." and, for reasons I can't even begin to comprehend, the wonders God wrought amongst us before His Incarnation. I can just imagine you standing on the shores of the Red Sea with Pharaoh's chariots bearing down on you, "This is nothing! Priests are going to say the Mass in English!!!"

      Delete
    8. "Sennacherwhat!? Hahaha! You have no idea. The Pope's going to be a Jesuit!"

      Delete
    9. Sounds totally natural: “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”

      More natural stuff: "I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Per′izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb′usites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”

      "For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David."

      "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

      Delete
    10. Sonny,

      Cardinal Burke is of no use when it comes to opposing the errors at loose in the Church because he shares many of them. Presiding over the Dignitatis Humanae Institute in Lazio with the likes of Stephen Bannon (an esoterist with a syllabus-full of errors inside his head), is NOT loyal criticism. It's part of the problem.

      The crisis didn't start with Pope Francis; it was apparent to all except you from the time of Vatican II. Paul VI admitted that.

      Don't be so free in calling everyone who disagrees with nutters and idiots. It's not a sign of intelligence, though I know who you learnt the habit from...

      Delete
    11. I have dealt with Radtrad nutters all my life. They mar authentic Traditionalism with their conspiracy theories(holocaust denial, Jewish Banker theories, geocentracism, Pope St Paul was secretly replaced vs he was gay) and other wackyness.

      I will freely do what I like. In spite of the Jewish Monker I am an American Scotsmen.

      I have defended Pope Francis since the beginning and will happly do so it he is treated unfairly or unjustly. But I won't defend the indefensible.

      Delete
    12. They exist, but they're not that numerous or influential. The average person reading the myths and Black Legends peddled by the ordinary media is just as full of bizarre notions.

      I have run into people who believed Paul VI had two doubles (one an agent working for the Soviet Union and the other for China), plus a robot look-alike controlled by a computer in Brussels. However, with today's confusion there is no need for doubles or agents. The internalization of theological Newspeak works even better.
      But I think you ought not get too worked up about the lost sheep who are trying to make sense of this mess. The Church was always meant to be led by the clergy, not the laity and mad trads and other oddities are inevitable when the shepherds go AWOL.
      Rome will get its act together as it always has, and things will be better than ever before.

      Delete
    13. There is a scene from Il Marchese del Grillo, one of the most popular Italian comedies ever. The marquis is arguing with his mother in favour of progressivism (that is to say, the French revolutionaries who have imprisoned the Pope):
      "Remember that the future is in the hands of the French and of Napoleon, who leads them." To which his mother answers:

      "No. Our future is in the hands of the Lord.
      And that Napoleon who leads the French as you say will finish up sooner of later out on his arse. And remember moreover that when a Pope dies, they always make another one!"

      Delete
    14. Good stuff, Miguel. "Son of Yakov" thinks religion is politics. “Radtrads” is a political rhetorical label in what he perceives to be a political fight to be won by discrediting opposing voices. You could replace his nouns with others like Environuts, Democraps, Libtards, etc., and his comments would make exactly the same sense.

      For the political activist, a discussion about facts becomes a battle over rhetorical territory, and this is because he thinks he can help save the Church. This is wrong in every possible way. The normal Christian knows that he needs to be saved by the Church; not the other way round.

      Yes, Rome will recover, of course, and Rome will be the immediate source of the reforms that will repair the Church. It's all in the hands of God, and there's nothing we can do about it, which perhaps is the real lesson for this liberal/political/naturalistic era of ours...

      Delete
    15. A factual discussion? Here's some more facts for you:

      "And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samar′ia, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. But Saul laid waste the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison."

      Saul 'laid waste the church'? Cry-babies! Little did they know that 2,000 years in the future we'd face something ambiguous Papal airplane interviews, which is hands-down worse than anything we have ever before endured.

      But in all seriousness, I'm glad you're now talking about knowing your place and putting things in perspective: "The normal Christian knows that he needs to be saved by the Church; not the other way round." I couldn't agree more.

      Delete
    16. Actually, those early Christians probably do understand our great suffering, with their Masses in the vernacular and all.

      Delete
  23. The Freemasons in St. Peter's Square in 1917 - “Satan Must Reign in the Vatican. The Pope Will Be His Slave.”
    https://www.tldm.org/news27/satan-must-reign-in-the-vatican-the-pope-will-be-his-slave.htm

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  24. Symbols and symbolisms matter. If the staff the pope used – for sure it can’t be recognized as Christian – was indeed a satanic stang, that’s neither trivial nor a foolish appeal and I would consider this the most serious and enlightening of all charges because this pope who doesn't sound catholic is giving a very symbolic indication of who he may really be serving [can't serve two masters - Our LORD]

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    1. So Pope Francis isn't just a heretic, he's a Satanist? Do nutters like you imagine he bathes in the blood of virgins, as well?

      Delete
    2. O, so that's how the elite happen to live very long lives? Go on Anonymous, tell us! It appears you are in the know.

      Delete
  25. For Feser: It is quite clear that you agree that something is dreadfully wrong. My question is: if not "heresy" then what do we call this? Is there a name for the practice of using one's teaching authority as pope (or as a bishop) to encourage and abet heresy or heretical beliefs?
    And can anything be done about it?

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  26. A message for Son of Ya'Kov.

    The normal Christian knows that the real measure of religion is virtue, so that any real assessment of the accuracy of the trad critique requires addressing the numerous large, happy, families, the peaceful orthodoxy, the sheer bubbling health, seen in trad chapels. Of course, if you haven't seen this, you can't know, but it's stunning. I myself was stunned by it at the age of 20, some 30 years ago. It was so different from the Novus Ordo that I grew up in, that the difference was literally indescribable. The tiny families, the rampant heterodoxy, the manifest worldliness, the noisy, banal worship services, etc., of the Novus Ordo milieu are what one would expect, of course, with a new man-centred religion, but really to appreciate this you need to witness the facts in Tradition. You say you've been dealing with "Radtrads" your whole life. I doubt it. I suspect by "your whole life" you actually mean "online". If you went to St. Mary's Kansas or some other established SSPX centre, I think you'd at least realised that you're playing politics over this stuff on your own. Trads are busy living an authentic Christian life, just like any practising Catholic pre-V2, and the politics of the situation is the last thing on most of our minds.

    In any case, the problem facing defenders of Modernist heretics is not whatever political effects the existence of trads might have - after all, we're nothing but Christians who decline to go along with the revolution, and therefore are not harmed by it - but rather the terminal decline and rampant worldliness of the New Church. On that score we're irrelevant, and happy to be ignored. We're glad to be sheep looked after by good shepherds, after the pattern of the Good Shepherd.

    There’s no solution in more of the same revolution that caused the nightmare to begin with. And when I say “solution”, I don’t mean for the Church, I mean for Christians looking for salvation. And politics can’t do much to stop us from seeking it in Tradition. Political abuse won’t make me start thinking that I made a mistake in founding a family of eleven whilst exclusively assisting at the traditional Mass, and seeing my adult children keeping their faith and avoiding all of the usual problems which assault “modern” Catholics.

    Regards,
    John.

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    1. You didn't answer my question are you that fellow I tuffed with in the past who claimed Pope St Paul VI was a homosexual based on some charges levied by a French Communist Pederast named Roger Peyrefitte who for some mad reason you believe over a Papal Saint?

      If there is anything I can't stand is disengenous people.

      A simple yes or no will due.

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  27. It is a bizzare superstition Radtrads hold that merely changing the liturgy back to the St Pius V rite will somehow magically transform the Church and society back to some mythical Catholic Golden age of yesteryear which quite frankly never existed.

    The sole problem with the Church today is a lack of catechesis. If you don't teach the Faith then going to Mass is just going threw the motions. This is true wither the Mass is 50 minutes long or an Hour and 15 minutes either in English or Latin.

    The Greek Orthodox have the same modernist crisis in their Church and they haven't changed their liturgy significanly in 1000 years.

    Novus Ordo Churches I went to where the Priest gave out extensive lituratue from Catholic Answers and the Charismatic Reniewal movement was in full force where attended to overflow.

    This goofy myth all the problems start with Vatican II and changing the mass is simply that a myth.

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  28. Yes it's true things weren't so rosy before the Council. However, the best way to attend the Novus Ordo as it is performed in most churches around the world, is above all, NOT to have a solid grounding in catechesis. The atmosphere, the mannerisms of the officiants, their handling of the Sacred Species, everything works against what catechesis tries to achieve. Of course it's all done in good faith and clearly people have the Faith and are so often admirable. Being cushioned from many realities by their pastors helps them keep their equanimity. Good luck to them, but dawn is coming.

    We all know what Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci thought of the Novus Ordo, and Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer's opinion of it when he first encountered it ("What is this shit?!"). However they all got pushed where they didn't want to go, and the laity were sleepwalked into new liturgy by the most stupid generation of brainwashed, trendy clergy (now in their nineties).
    For me, the decision to attend the traditional Mass was made by my parents when I was a child. Whenever I take a peek at what goes on in the average parish, I can only thank them. Of course the Church has its dynamics and will take time sort out the liturgy, but for me and many, having to attend this mini-Mass would be time travel back to the sad experiences of Ottaviani and St. Josemaria.

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    1. You cannot debate asthetics. It is purely subjective no matter how much one tries to beg the question otherwise.

      I have found Traditional Latin Masses tedious and impossible to participate in. At least in terms of the Low Mass where I can barely hear the priest saying the words in Latin. Also trying to make heads or tails of the Missel in order to follow along forget it. I've given up.

      Now Eastern Rite Masses are another thing all together. Far superior IMHO. They say the St Pius V Mass is more "vertical" worship and the St Paul VI more "horizontal". The Eastern Rite Masses mannage to mate both perfectly.

      >However, the best way to attend the Novus Ordo as it is performed in most churches around the world, is above all, NOT to have a solid grounding in catechesis.

      I find the opposite is true. When I started to learn the Faith on my own from reading Apologetics material and listening to Scott Hahn's talks on the Mass the liturgy came alive to me & it was the Paul VI liturgy. My first Pius V Mass was lovely because the Priest had a booming voice and I could hear the Latin & follow the Missal. All the ones since I went too where tedious for reasons I mentioned above.

      At the end of the Day a lack of teaching the fundamentals of the Faith are the sole cause of the problem. If I never learned any doctrine or the deep theology of the Eucharist or it's biblical basis I am convinced my first Latin Mass would have been just some guy chainting in a language I don't understand. Much like the Spanish Masses I was forced to attend when I missed the English ones back before I learned theology.

      But this is my experience and like I said you really can't argue Asthetics. It is stupid to try.

      Delete
  29. I don't think aesthetics is the main reason people oppose the Novus Ordo, but it's not necessary to go into the criticisms of its expression of doctrine which are well known.


    Still, there is behavior proper to the Latin rite like kneeling, and practices concerning the handling the Sacred Species (including those who should not be involved), which express our doctrinal beliefs. This culture seems to have been largely lost. It's not optional; it must return, because it expresses doctrine. That's what I meant with the comment about it being better not to have a grounding in catechesis if one wants to attend the Novus Ordo with peace of mind (in what seems to be a majority of parishes).

    As for the traditional rite being vertical versus a horizontal Novus Ordo, I disagree. Verticality has been associated with the Gothic style, but that was important only for three centuries or so (the neo-Gothic of the Irish diaspora notwithstanding). The basilica style which is proper to our rite, and which reigned supreme in Rome for a thousand years, produces a liturgy which is essentially horizontal.

    The great Roman basilicas like St Mary Major are basically rectangular boxes which draw the eye in one direction, to the front where the liturgy is enacted. Architecturally the aspect of assembly and spectacle are foremost, with room for large congregations (the complete opposite of the Byzantine liturgy). I suppose the Novus Ordo is also assembly and spectacle, but what we are treated to is very different.

    For traditional Catholics, the personality of the celebrant doesn't really register, as long as he is clearly taking seriously what he is doing.

    Most Catholics speak Romance languages which, while not making Latin easily intelligible, allows them to know without difficulty what is going on. Many of the inventions created by liturgical experts for the Novus Ordo (like the prayers of the faithful, which seems to take up a quarter of the Mass) clearly don't work.

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    1. >I don't think aesthetics is the main reason people oppose the Novus Ordo,

      We will have to agree to disagree. I pretty much think it is because if those people personally found it pleasant and familar to worship with they would not complain.

      For example when they revised the St Paul VI Rite by getting rid of the old ICEL translation in favor of one more faithful to the original Latin(a move in principle I support) I actually found it slightly unpleasant to worship with teh revision because that is not how I said the Mass growing up. Of course I sucked it up rather then schism and start a Society of St Paul VI....just saying.;-)

      >but it's not necessary to go into the criticisms of its expression of doctrine which are well known.

      Yes I have read them and I read the opposite take on the matter in The Liturgy Betrayed by Crouan and as far as I'm concerned I have no good reason to side with one over the other.

      For me the problem is soley one of not teaching doctrine to people. My wife is a former Ex-Catholic and she pretty much attributed theological ignorance and the lack to doctrinal education for her slide into Evangelicalism.

      If it wasn't for Karl Keating's writings she wouldn't have had a way back.

      Delete
  30. @SoY,

    No, it isn't aesthetics. It's faith, as you rightly say.

    "At the end of the Day a lack of teaching the fundamentals of the Faith are the sole cause of the problem."

    The new liturgy presents the new doctrine, and undermines the old doctrine. But the root isn't the liturgy, the root is the new approach of John XXIII and Paul VI, which was no longer to present the faith as obligatory, but as a matter of opinion. This is the real cause of the abandonment of all sanctions for crimes against faith, in the 1960s. The new spirit led to rampant rebellion and loss of faith, and it led to a new liturgy that would present religion as a choice, a good choice, but still a choice. If you think it's an accident that the documents of Vatican II have no anathemas attached, or that Paul VI destroyed the Holy Office in 1966, or that priests stopped mentioning hell in sermons, think again. It's all of a piece. Liberalism.

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  31. >No, it isn't aesthetics. It's faith, as you rightly say.

    Except it is against the Council of Trent for you to bash the authorized Rite of the Mass "If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of masses are incentives to impiety rather than offices of piety, let him be anathema."

    It doesn't matter if Vatican II has any anathemas or not. Trent and Vatican I do and you are a walking talking violation of their teaching.

    Radtrads are simply not traditional.

    >The new liturgy presents the new doctrine, and undermines the old doctrine.

    That is heresy and liberalism if I believe Trent and you are not Catholic.

    Basically you are a Protestant only more High Church.

    Also I note you refuse to confirm or deny that you accused Pope St Paul VI of being a homosexual based on some charges levied by a French Communist Pederast named Roger Peyrefitte who for some mad reason you believe over a Papal Saint?

    I can understand why you don't own it. You are an extremist nutter which is what is wrong with Traditionalism today. Too many nutters.

    ReplyDelete
  32. The anathema at Trent applied to Protestants who wanted something like what modernist liturgists want today. There is a crisis in the liturgy precisely because of things which have become common practice.

    Communion in the hand and celebrants treating hosts like Monopoly money (things which can be seen in a huge percentage of Catholic churches on any given Sunday) are an incentive to impiety. Pope Benedict obviously thought as much. Did he escape the anathema of Trent by keeping his mouth shut (while refusing to give communion in the hand himself)?
    Anathemas don't work very well when the Church is in crisis. Let's leave them to the Church of the future shall we?

    If tastes have changed to such a degree in these matters, they are obviously wrong and need rectifying. One can educate, but when the outward actions of celebrants and people do not reflect what they profess internally, their minds tend to follow. This is human nature.

    It's true that the Novus Ordo (for all its textual problems) can be celebrated in a devout way and surrounded with proper and unambiguous attitudes but this is not the case mostly.

    Education alone to counter such regular deforming conditioning could be a case of pissing in the wind, for many aspects at least. I can accept that the good will of so many will help them through this mess until the Church finally gets around to sorting things out properly.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >The anathema at Trent applied to Protestants who wanted something like what modernist liturgists want today.

      That is an interpretation not supported by a plain straightforward reading of the text.


      >There is a crisis in the liturgy precisely because of things which have become common practice.

      The crisis is solely one of teaching actual doctrine to people vs them relying on the Eight Sacrament of Holy Osmosis.

      That can't be denied. As I said the Eastern Orthodox haven't changed their liturgy in 1000 years and they suffer the same modernist problems. Modernist existed when the ST Pius V liturgy was all there was & even if you abrogated the St Paul VI and went back & changed nothing else the problem would remain.

      >Communion in the hand and celebrants treating hosts like Monopoly money (things which can be seen in a huge percentage of Catholic churches on any given Sunday) are an incentive to impiety.

      When I learned the Eucharist is the actual Body of Christ I learned to tremble whenever I choose to take communion in the hand. Externals are meaningless without doctrine.

      >Pope Benedict obviously thought as much. Did he escape the anathema of Trent by keeping his mouth shut (while refusing to give communion in the hand himself)?

      This is a silly statement. Where has Pope Benedict said the St Paul VI Rite is illegitimate and that St Paul VI had no right to revise the liturgy? Nowhere, indeed he condemned the founder of the SSPX and accused him of the very liberalism he charged the council. Or did you forget that?

      >Anathemas don't work very well when the Church is in crisis. Let's leave them to the Church of the future shall we?

      You are contradicting yourself.

      >If tastes have changed to such a degree in these matters, they are obviously wrong and need rectifying. One can educate, but when the outward actions of celebrants and people do not reflect what they profess internally, their minds tend to follow. This is human nature.

      This is solely because they are not taught the faith. Everything I learned about Catholic doctrine I learned as an adult reading Catholic Apologists. I sure as heck didn't learn it in CCD. They where too busy talking about feelings not doctrine. That was clearly the problem.

      >It's true that the Novus Ordo (for all its textual problems) can be celebrated in a devout way and surrounded with proper and unambiguous attitudes but this is not the case mostly.

      It is a delusion to believe the modern crisis would not exist if Pope St Paul VI never changed the liturgy. You would simply have clown Masses and Liturgical dancing and female altar servers with Latin. Nothing more.

      >Education alone to counter such regular deforming conditioning could be a case of pissing in the wind, for many aspects at least.

      Yet when I learned the content of the Faith I treated going to Mass differently. With conversion to Jesus and a proper theological formation nothing but piety can flow from that.

      > I can accept that the good will of so many will help them through this mess until the Church finally gets around to sorting things out properly.

      Here I agree with you.

      Delete
  33. The anathemas at Trent applied to the Protestants who didn't like traditional liturgy. That was the context.

    The victory of the liberals of the Rhine countries and the Americanists at Vatican II was followed up by liturgical change which was supposed to reflect it, as well as obvious liturgical abuses which remain the norm in so many places.

    If the Eastern orthodox had chucked out their liturgy as well as doctrine, there would be almost nothing of them left now. They are full of false ideas it's true, but worshipping in the Catholic way and venerating Our Lady are things that will not be ignored.

    The Church isn't a democracy. No amount of education of the laity will stop a disaster if the clergy are determined to jump overboard. Religion is worship, love and submission to God who reveals. For many centuries Catholics have done that, often without detailed knowledge of the Faith and they did well. Of course more catechesis is great; it produces better fighting fit sheep. Ultimately though, it will be hard to keep out of the jaws of the wolf without good shepherds.

    Externals are the expressions of doctrine or its belittling, as the case may be. You may be able to soldier on with external practices that are out of kilter with doctrine, but generally people end up believing according to the way they act. Children, especially, understand in an instant if something is being taken seriously or not by the people around them and draw their own conclusions accordingly.

    The statement about Pope Benedict concerns communion in the hand, not the Novus Ordo per se. Have another look.

    It's sectarian and a sign of crisis when people start launching anathemas at each other. It's not your job to excommunicate anybody. The Church will be doing a lot of that in the not-too-distant future no doubt, but it's not our job.

    The liturgical revolution was a confirmation of the victory of those who wanted to mess around with doctrine. It was also their strategy for "never going back". One can mitigate the problem here but this liturgy does seem extremely resistant to your kind of experience at Mass.

    ReplyDelete
  34. >The anathemas at Trent applied to the Protestants who didn't like traditional liturgy. That was the context.

    Clearly not. "If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of masses are incentives to impiety rather than offices of piety, let him be anathema."

    Where does the text limit this to the Pius V liturgy? It doesn't it applies to all liturgies promulgated lawfully by the Church at all times.

    >If the Eastern orthodox had chucked out their liturgy as well as doctrine, there would be almost nothing of them left now.

    They have a rebel women's ordination movement. They have female deaconesses. Not changing their liturgy didn't stop any of this but I bet NOT teaching doctrine to laymen and relying on the Eight Sacrament of Holy Osmosis did. Those are just the facts.

    >The Church isn't a democracy.

    Unless Rome rules against Trad extremists then it becomes suspiciously pseudo democratic in their eyes....

    >No amount of education of the laity will stop a disaster if the clergy are determined to jump overboard.

    Your clericalism is noted. An Educated laity by definition produce orthodox clergy since it is from the ranks of the laity they are recruited. They are not grown in clone vats good sir.

    >Religion is worship, love and submission to God who reveals. For many centuries Catholics have done that, often without detailed knowledge of the Faith and they did well.

    Yes God can bring good out of evil but enforced ignorance is evil. A detailed knowledge of the Faith is mandated. You seem to underestimate the beauty of such knowledge? I thought you Trads where all about the True and the Beautiful? Bad form.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Part II

      >Of course more catechesis is great; it produces better fighting fit sheep. Ultimately though, it will be hard to keep out of the jaws of the wolf without good shepherds.

      Except as I pointed out clergy are selected from the Sheep as are the Shepards. Nobody is born Pope or a Priest.

      >Externals are the expressions of doctrine or its belittling, as the case may be. You may be able to soldier on with external practices that are out of kilter with doctrine, but generally people end up believing according to the way they act. Children, especially, understand in an instant if something is being taken seriously or not by the people around them and draw their own conclusions accordingly.

      Such seriousness comes from the weight of doctrinal truth and knowing it. If I didn't know the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of our Lord then no pretty liturgy can teach me that.

      >The statement about Pope Benedict concerns communion in the hand, not the Novus Ordo per se. Have another look.

      I am concerned here about the extremist attacks on the Novus Ordo. Go re-read my head butting with Aquinian. Stop trying to side track me with petty issues.

      It's sectarian and a sign of crisis when people start launching anathemas at each other. It's not your job to excommunicate anybody. The Church will be doing a lot of that in the not-too-distant future no doubt, but it's not our job.

      >The liturgical revolution was a confirmation of the victory of those who wanted to mess around with doctrine. It was also their strategy for "never going back". One can mitigate the problem here but this liturgy does seem extremely resistant to your kind of experience at Mass.

      Quite ironic your implicit call for peace and not throwing around Anathamas considering the subject matter of this post above. Why do Trads have no self reflection?

      > They are full of false ideas it's true, but worshipping in the Catholic way and venerating Our Lady are things that will not be ignored.

      If false ideas come from the far left or right I will show them no pity. I will war against the Women's Ordination Movement and the SSPX or SSPV with equal fury.

      Reactionary trads are as harmful as liberals. Starting with their inconsistency.

      >The liturgical revolution was a confirmation of the victory of those who wanted to mess around with doctrine. It was also their strategy for "never going back". One can mitigate the problem here but this liturgy does seem extremely resistant to your kind of experience at Mass.

      Yet I have lived it and it is as easy as falling in love. It only takes fidelity. On the other hand the opposite extreme on your side was born in schism and formal disobedience(SSPX) which forever taints much of what passes itself off as "Traditionalism".

      Delete
  35. @Son of Ya'Kov

    << Except it is against the Council of Trent for you to bash the authorized Rite of the Mass "If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments and outward signs which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of masses are incentives to impiety rather than offices of piety, let him be anathema." >>

    OK, let's for the sake of the argument admit this (which I do not, obviously, admit). Where does that get us? We have a synthetic new rite, an entirely novel concept in Christian tradition, and which happens to be orientated towards Protestant sensibilities, playing down specifically Catholic doctrines and being explicitly designed to be acceptable for use by Protestants for their own services. Part of the process of developing this new rite involved the invitation to six Protestant experts to advise. The Lutherans have said that they can use it, and they have actually used it on occasion.

    The immediate response of many was to complain about this new rite, and ask for the old mass instead. Brutal denial was the answer. You MUST celebrate, or attend, this new rite, and you cannot have the old one, it's forbidden. So, the faithful Catholic was left with a conundrum - either apparent disobedience or cooperate in the new rite, which savours of heresy because it was explicitly designed to be approved of by heretics.

    Those who chose apparent disobedience were vindicated, forty years later, by Jospeh Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, who stated officially that the old mass had never legally been forbidden. In the mean time we were accused, repeatedly, tirelessly, of schism. Schism, of course, is not a problem any more, except for us. Even pagans could use Catholic churches for their worship, as they did famously in Assisi in '86, but those who wanted the old mass could not. That was still evil, schismatic, and against the Catholic Church, but nothing else was evil, schism was no longer a thing (unless you were a trad), and of course the official line was that the correct approach to every enemy of the Church was to focus on what unites, not on differences. Only trads are excepted. And our crime? Failing to accept the new mass. That's it. We've not even ostensibly done anything else wrong. We simply have failed to adopt the new religion. We're faithful.

    So, if I refrain from saying what I don't like about the new mass, so that Trent's anathemas no longer apply, am I OK attending only the old mass? (Of course, the entire proposition is the purest hypocrisy, because the anathemas against the Orthodox were explicitly lifted by Paul VI, and no anathemas are ever issued against anybody else, but apparently anathemas do still apply - exclusively to trads.)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Continued:

    << Radtrads are simply not traditional. >>

    More hyocrisy, I'm sorry. "Traditional" isn't important to you, or you'd have the problems we have with the changes. Or is it merely a "tu quoque" riposte, not really serious?

    << Basically you are a Protestant only more High Church. >>

    I remind you of what you wrote: "Everything I learned about Catholic doctrine I learned as an adult reading Catholic Apologists. I sure as heck didn't learn it in CCD. They where too busy talking about feelings not doctrine. That was clearly the problem."

    So, you learn your faith from self-appointed lay apologists such as Scott Hahn, whilst REJECTING the instruction provided by those you regard as the official representatives of the Church. The official instruction programme, approved and organised by the bishops, the CCD, is no good (we agree on that much). But your position isn't Catholic, AT ALL. It's essentially, obviously, Protestant. You pick your own teachers. That is because you can't trust the Church. How more openly Protestant could a position be? Ours, on the other hand, is consistent and Catholic. We "hold fast to the traditions we have received" and that is our crime, and our only crime. We decline to abandon those traditions. For this we are abused, calumniated, and hypocritically accused of rending a unity which was utterly devastated by those same changes we decline to participate in.

    << You are an extremist nutter which is what is wrong with Traditionalism today. Too many nutters. >>

    As Ed Feser might say, at some point you will notice that actually, our arguments are rather compelling and have actually to be answered. Abuse won't wash.

    ReplyDelete
  37. >OK, let's for the sake of the argument admit this (which I do not, obviously, admit). Where does that get us?
    It tells us that the St Paul VI gives the same divine graces as the St Pius V and that your personal superstition the Pius V rite has some inherently greater grace or orthodoxy is bogus. As is any claim the rites of the Paul VI are a source of impiety rather then piety.
    >We have a synthetic new rite, an entirely novel concept in Christian tradition, and which happens to be orientated towards Protestant sensibilities, playing down specifically Catholic doctrines and being explicitly designed to be acceptable for use by Protestants for their own services. Part of the process of developing this new rite involved the invitation to six Protestant experts to advise.
    This is radtrad Protestant propaganda. It is simply not true.
    http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/stickler.html
    http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/appendixa.html

    >The Lutherans have said that they can use it, and they have actually used it on occasion.

    High Church Lutherans are all but Catholic in their sacramental theology like High Church Anglicans. Indeed some at the Vatican believe Lithuanian Lutherans have valid holy orders. So I don’t see the problem.
    >The immediate response of many was to complain about this new rite, and ask for the old mass instead. Brutal denial was the answer. You MUST celebrate, or attend, this new rite, and you cannot have the old one, it's forbidden. So, the faithful Catholic was left with a conundrum - either apparent disobedience or cooperate in the new rite, which savours of heresy because it was explicitly designed to be approved of by heretics.

    Excuse me but Pope St John Paul II resorted observance of the rite (which you don’t have an inherent right too. You have a right to the sacraments and the Paul VI Mass is valid & it is heresy for your High Church Protestant kind to say otherwise). Benedict made it even more accessible and Francis hasn’t taken it away so quit your bitching.
    >Those who chose apparent disobedience were vindicated, forty years later, by Jospeh Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, who stated officially that the old mass had never legally been forbidden.
    But he didn’t say rogue trad bishops could consecrate their Priests bishops without a papal mandate. Nice try Radtrad. Ergo you are schismatics and you are dishonest too boot. Talking to you kind is like talking to an oily politician.
    >Even pagans could use Catholic churches for their worship, as they did famously in Assisi in '86, but those who wanted the old mass could not.
    This is more Protestant Radtrad nonsense.
    http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/assissi.html

    >So, if I refrain from saying what I don't like about the new mass, so that Trent's anathemas no longer apply, am I OK attending only the old mass? (Of course, the entire proposition is the purest hypocrisy, because the anathemas against the Orthodox were explicitly lifted by Paul VI, and no anathemas are ever issued against anybody else, but apparently anathemas do still apply - exclusively to trads.)
    You commit fallacies of equivocation at the drop of a hat. Pope St Paul VI (whom you falsely accused of being a homosexual & won’t own it because you are a coward). Revoking the penalty of the anathema for the orthodox schism does not authorize you to claim the Paul VI is a source of impiety rather then piety. One has nothing to do with the other.

    Lame.

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    1. >More hyocrisy, I'm sorry. "Traditional" isn't important to you, or you'd have the problems we have with the changes. Or is it merely a "tu quoque" riposte, not really serious?

      Learn to read English buddy there is a good fellow. I am talking about Radtrads. Extremist so called Traditionalists who error to the right. Not all Traditionalists.


      >I remind you of what you wrote: "Everything I learned about Catholic doctrine I learned as an adult reading Catholic Apologists. I sure as heck didn't learn it in CCD. They where too busy talking about feelings not doctrine. That was clearly the problem."
      I stand by it. I don’t say things then refuse to own them like a certain person who falsely accused Pope St Paul VI of being a homosexual based on charges put forth by a French Pederast.
      >So, you learn your faith from self-appointed lay apologists such as Scott Hahn, whilst REJECTING the instruction provided by those you regard as the official representatives of the Church.
      Scott Hahn never went into schism and took his learning from official representatives of the Church. What is an “official representative” to you buddy? A Bishop who illegitimately received his consecration without Papal mandate? Hysterical! LOL!
      >The official instruction programme, approved and organised by the bishops, the CCD, is no good (we agree on that much).
      No we don’t. My point was I never received official instruction. Just feelings till I was 12 then religious education such as it was ceased.
      >But your position isn't Catholic, AT ALL. It's essentially, obviously, Protestant. You pick your own teachers.
      What like the French Archbishop? Hypocrite! All my teaches are Catholics in good standing. Are yours?

      >That is because you can't trust the Church. How more openly Protestant could a position be? Ours, on the other hand, is consistent and Catholic. We "hold fast to the traditions we have received" and that is our crime, and our only crime. We decline to abandon those traditions. For this we are abused, calumniated, and hypocritically accused of rending a unity which was utterly devastated by those same changes we decline to participate in.

      You are irrational, sentimental and inconsistent. Which is why I can’t take you lot seriously. Wanting to preserve the old ways is lovely but they are merely a means to an end not an end in themselves.

      >As Ed Feser might say, at some point you will notice that actually, our arguments are rather compelling and have actually to be answered. Abuse won't wash.
      I have been posting here for years longer then you. Prof Feser doesn’t support lunatic fringe people on the left or right.

      Delete
  38. Obviously the anathemas at Trent were not meant to prevent criticism of communion in the hand. Again (your refusal to read the original paragraph about Pope Benedict is making progress very slow here): did Pope Benedict escape the anathemas of Trent by keeping his mouth shut about communion in the hand, while refusing to practice it? You're a bit like the those who say no Pope can reform the Mass because of Quo Primum.

    The Eastern orthodox women's ordination and deaconess movement would fit inside my living room.

    The Church isn't a democracy. Well-formed laity sent tens of thousands of vocations to the seminaries from the 1960s, where they were promptly deformed doctrinally. There is no way round this. Our Lord said "Feed my lambs; feed my sheep", not "Train them to become survivalists"


    In the past most Christians were illiterate and their knowledge of the Faith and many other things could be sketchy. However, they knew what was essential for the times.



    Of course people need good knowledge of the faith, but it's not necessary or possible for them to become experts in theology or philosophy. One of the reasons radtrads (and many other oddities) exist is that the takeover of by incompetent clergy has incited many of the laity to become "experts", pontificating and excommunicating left, right and centre. While the laity should play a role in religious education under the direction of the clergy, the arrival of self-appointed lay theologians (all the worse if they have done a university course) is the culture from which "deaconesses" spring. The solution is the clergy getting their act together.

    Teaching and studying religion and theology is the vocation of the religious ex officio. To do it properly requires formation and submission. The Church has been compared to a flock and shepherd, a ship with a captain, crew and passengers, or an army led by captains; it is not a virus.

    The definition of the soldier is not a good shot or a great fighter, but someone who obeys. This is why they are not keen on gun nuts or weekend warriors.

    Part-timers, the self-taught and amateurs have been a never-ending source of errors and trouble in all this. As their own judgement is their only guide they cannot ever get it right.

    I am used to conservatives calling those seen as more traditional than themselves all sorts of names (names the Church does not use in fact). It's funny how conservatives like those who signed the letter to the Bishops are now raving on about deposing the Pope (all the while professing various kinds of error), something which Archbishop Lefebvre had no interest in and found incredible. The same conservatives are very likely on the road out of the Church for good.

    I can't continue this discussion because I don't have the time and others are better able to deal with these issues. Perhaps we'll argue it out over a beer. In the meantime, try not to go beyond what Rome says about traditionalists - not a sign of an anathema or schism mentioned as you know.
    Sectarianism is just another sad proof of crisis. You don't need to chuck people out of the Church. They'll go all by themselves if they want. Watch the conservatives.

    ReplyDelete
  39. >Obviously the anathemas at Trent were not meant to prevent criticism of communion in the hand.

    I don't give a rat's arse about that petty squabble I am answering the extremists in your camp who denounce the Paul VI Rite in general.

    Communion in the hand is all a red herring anyway.
    http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/communion.html

    >Again (your refusal to read the original paragraph about Pope Benedict is making progress very slow here): did Pope Benedict escape the anathemas of Trent by keeping his mouth shut about communion in the hand, while refusing to practice it?

    I won't answer it because I DON'T CARE. I am attacking the extremists who denounce the whole of Vatican II and the Paul VI rite. BTW I don't see then Cardinal Ratzinger breaking communion over it or advocating the illicit consecration of bishops.

    >You're a bit like the those who say no Pope can reform the Mass because of Quo Primum.

    I am actually 100% the opposite of that.

    >The Eastern orthodox women's ordination and deaconess movement would fit inside my living room.

    Well there are only 200 million Eastern Orthodox world wide and there are A Billion and half of us. Also we get more press than they do and we have more money.

    >The Church isn't a democracy. Well-formed laity sent tens of thousands of vocations to the seminaries from the 1960s, where they were promptly deformed doctrinally.

    Except lay religious education was quite inferior which would make those people vulnerable.

    >There is no way round this. Our Lord said "Feed my lambs; feed my sheep", not "Train them to become survivalists"

    What is with the Protestant either/or mentality? It's not either/or it is in fact both/and.


    >In the past most Christians were illiterate and their knowledge of the Faith and many other things could be sketchy. However, they knew what was essential for the times.

    But that doesn't preclude us improving on orthodox religious education the lack of which I maintain is the sole cause of liberalism.

    >Of course people need good knowledge of the faith, but it's not necessary or possible for them to become experts in theology or philosophy.

    HORSESHIT! The lay conservatives and Trads I have spoken to over the years have a more than sufficient knowledge of theology. No liberal I have ever met has any knowledge of theology or philosophy and wouldn't know Transubstanciation from a hole in the head.


    >One of the reasons radtrads (and many other oddities) exist is that the takeover of by incompetent clergy has incited many of the laity to become "experts", pontificating and excommunicating left, right and centre.

    Careful with this charge. It can be blown back on you. The issue is are you obedient or are you not?

    >While the laity should play a role in religious education under the direction of the clergy, the arrival of self-appointed lay theologians (all the worse if they have done a university course) is the culture from which "deaconesses" spring.

    Ironically many a Trad I have encountered in the age of Francis thinks lay theologicans should take over for lack bishops in guiding the laity. This all smells like clericalism.

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    1. part II

      >The solution is the clergy getting their act together.

      I am not against that but that can only be accomplished by educating the laity on doctrine.

      >Teaching and studying religion and theology is the vocation of the religious ex officio.

      Rather it is for everybody who cares about the faith. Some will be better at it than others but it is for everybody.

      >To do it properly requires formation and submission. The Church has been compared to a flock and shepherd, a ship with a captain, crew and passengers, or an army led by captains; it is not a virus.

      I agree.

      >The definition of the soldier is not a good shot or a great fighter, but someone who obeys. This is why they are not keen on gun nuts or weekend warriors.

      We are all soldiers in this fight. All are drafted.

      >Part-timers, the self-taught and amateurs have been a never-ending source of errors and trouble in all this. As their own judgement is their only guide they cannot ever get it right.

      Yet how many of these people tell me not to listen to the current Pope or to Vatican II? Opps!

      >I am used to conservatives calling those seen as more traditional than themselves all sorts of names (names the Church does not use in fact).

      Well in my life experience Trads spend more time attacking Conservatives then they did helping conservatives fight liberals. Now they act supprised when liberal over-run the Church?

      >It's funny how conservatives like those who signed the letter to the Bishops are now raving on about deposing the Pope (all the while professing various kinds of error), something which Archbishop Lefebvre had no interest in and found incredible.

      Those people aren't "conservatives" anymore. They are Radtrad or you can call them Radcons. They are not Catholic.

      >The same conservatives are very likely on the road out of the Church for good.

      If so it's because they pick up bad habits from Trads.


      >I can't continue this discussion because I don't have the time and others are better able to deal with these issues. Perhaps we'll argue it out over a beer. In the meantime, try not to go beyond what Rome says about traditionalists - not a sign of an anathema or schism mentioned as you know.

      I make no promises when confronted by idiots who consecrate their own bishops and or other idiots who judge the Pope a heretic or confess sedevacantism. I don't drink beer but I will take some Kalua.

      >Sectarianism is just another sad proof of crisis. You don't need to chuck people out of the Church. They'll go all by themselves if they want. Watch the conservatives.

      Well the last I checked conservatives don't consecrate their own bishops over a liturgy. But they shouldn't immitate the worst of Trads only the best of Trads.

      Delete
  40. Like Miguel, I'm out of time, and in addition, I am serenely content to leave the matter there, giving you the last word. Others will ponder and decide which of us had the best arguments and sounded most reasonable.

    Regards,
    John.

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  41. One solution to all of the above is to shift the focus from the talking of the talk to the walking of the walk, from doctrine to service.

    ReplyDelete